The Project
August 26, 2020 | By Auburn

We are tracking the human expressive profile, aiming to catalog all conversational movements into naturally occurring expressive clusters, to see what, if anything, these clusters reveal about psychology. So far we have looked at thousands of expressive profiles and have made approximately 600 of those publicly accessible in our database. This research project is based on a few core observations, a hypothesis, and a resulting Model that explains the observations made and makes testable predictions.

Observation 1:

When we observe the same person over the span of hours, days, or weeks, we note that their body mannerisms aggregate into a mean that is distinct to them. While no facial expression or body gesture is unavailable to anyone, people have a limited range of expressions that account for the vast majority of their own personal body movements or "signature."

Observation 2:

Some studies indicate that people's face and body movements are connected, in specific ways, to their psychological state at a given moment. The details about which expressions correspond to what psychological states, and how tightly they correlate, is a question that researcher groups, like CT, are still investigating. However, the existence of a link between body movements and our construction of thoughts & language remains well supported.


Given that--

  • (1) people display a limited range of expressions with a higher regularity, and
  • (2) that we know the correlation between body movements and the semantic construction of thoughts is statistically significant,

We ask--

  • Can a person's typical range of expressions tell us anything unvarying about their personal mode of thought processing?
  • And do people with the same range of expressions share anything unvarying across their thought processes?

We hypothesize the answer is yes, and that people's aggregated range of expressions can be mapped against others who share their range to make predictions about what is universal across their psychologies.


In order to test this hypothesis, we gather hundreds of samples, analyze their gestures and create a catalog of the most common expressive signals. We then group people into expressive clusters according to where they fit within this catalog of signals. Once a person is grouped into their expressive "type", we administer a psychological survey to see whether there is indeed a correlation to the psychologies of others in their movement-grouping.
Some movements show no consistent psychological correlation, but those which do are kept and re-tested. Over time, this has developed a Model of what we think these correlations between body mannerisms and psychology imply about the nature of human cognition.
Curious about your own expressive profile, and what it says about your psychology?

Join the Study

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