Does mind-reading exist, or is there only science? NOW! Jakarta met Monica Kumalasari, a gestures and micro-expressions expert, who is also the author of Incredible Me: Change Yourself before You Change Others.

The Lie Detector: In coversation with Monica Kumala Sari, Gestrue and Micro-Expression Expert
Monica Kumalasari, Gestures and micro-expressions expert. Photo by Raditya Fadilla/NOWJAKARTA

The science of studying people’s gestures and micro-expressions is not a new subject in the world. Three years ago, when FBI’s scientific advisor and scientific consultant of the famous crime drama television series Lie to Me, Paul Ekman, opened his public class in Jakarta, he approved three participants and gave them license to be allowed to study at Paul Ekman International in Manchester, UK. One of these three was renowned psychotherapist and life coach, Monica Kumalasari.

According to Monica, the study centres on signals emitted by a person’s body, and these signals should be synchronous with the person’s gesture. “If I ask someone ‘How are you?’ and she/he answers,‘I’m fine’ but with a frown and a reluctant face, that’s asynchronous. When someone says something, she/he usually has to be synchronous with the gestures, if it is asynchronous it doesn’t mean the person is lying, but it means further analysis is needed. Facial expression is the most obvious, and it is divided into macro and micro. Expressions can’t be covered by anything and it will appear in 0.2 seconds, and that’s called micro-expression. It’s so fast and can’t be caught by untrained eyes,” Monica explains.

Can a person produce fake body language and gestures knowing he’s being analysed? Monica said it can if the person is in conscious condition, but people are not always that aware. So there are five channels that can be analysed, from facial expressions, gesture, tonality, verbal style and verbal content. She also said that the most valid lie detector is oneself because the body will definitely leak it through facial expressions and gestures or body language.

“What people need to know is that a gesture and micro-expression expert can analyse a person if the person is in high stack state or in a condition that make her/him tense, such as when the person is lying, talking to the media for fear of speaking wrong or when is being interviewed. So, no worries, if the conditions of the person is not in high stack, the science becomes unimportant! And I will switch off the mode when among family or friends to keep my professionalism and maintain proper ethics,” Monica added.

Sari Widiati

Sari Widiati

Sari has been an arts and culture enthusiast for many years. She has written extensively on the arts, travel, and social issues as Features Writer at NOW! Jakarta.