The human face is the ultimate visualization and we spend most of our life looking for answers in it. We often misread them and can actually be purposely mislead by them.
To help us get around this the lie detector was invented, the most common of those being the Polygraph which was invented in the 1920’s by John Augustus Larson, his parents were Swedish which just goes to show lots of innovation is born out of Sweden. His invention tried to get behind the face and find out whether people are telling the truth or not.
The face and the brain are intrinsically linked but do we take everything on “face value”? We don’t and that’s because we can’t read a person’s mind and find out what is going on behind the expression.
We simplify them and send them in emails and texts because people can’t see our faces. I also listened to a very interesting program on the radio where due to the obvious limitations of this medium they were experimenting by using a swanee whistle to show an upward or downward trend on a line chart, try and do that with 100 data points.
Some people actually can’t interpret expressions due to a very sad condition that affects the brain and stops us from recognising faces it’s called Prosopagnosia and is caused by damage to a part of the brain called the fusiform gyrus. Every time they see a face they are unable to tell if they are a member of their family or a complete stranger. This underlines our reliance on viewing patterns from an upward trend on a line graph to the downward turn of a person’s eye brows.
As we look someone in the face we have to make a decision based on what we see, if they are well known we can pretty quickly judge their mood or reaction to something we have said, but with strangers that can be more difficult and often we can misjudge their moods or make the wrong assumptions based on previous experience.
Luckily with information we are able to read the mind of the visualization and look in to its brain. The tables, columns and rows of a databases mind are freely available and can help us make decisions based on facts, even the relationships and history can take us down the right path.
We are constantly making decisions based on information that is foreign to us and by just relying on data at face value we can be prone to misinterpretation. Look behind the smile you may be surprised.