In order to be certain that all synergological observations are real, Synergology assesses them using the falsifiability criterion established by Karl Popper (cf: Karl Popper: The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959). For Popper, a scientific theory is only scientific if the truths it states can be challenged through observation. Thus it is the possibility that a proposition can be refuted by means of experimentation (or “falsifiability”) that validates its scientific nature. A theory is scientific if it can be put to the test, is testable and if it is falsifiable. An example: 100 000 white swans on a lake do not allow us to state that the proposition “all swans are white” is true. On the other hand, a single black swan on a lake allows us to state that the proposition “all swans are white” is false. The scientific attitude is a critical attitude that does not seek confirmation of a theory; just the opposite – it looks for tests that can refute the theory.
Let’s apply the falsifiability criterion to synergological propositions: if we put forward a hypothesis in the following terms: “In all happy people the lower palpebral fissure of both eyes is automatically raised, never revealing the white of the eye under the pupil”, we are providing the means to falsify the hypothesis; all it would take is a for a significant percentage of palpebral fissures not to be raised in obviously happy people to invalidate our hypothesis. A synergological proposition is only truly synergological if it can be falsified. Error, far from being a shortcoming, is a necessary step in the development of knowledge. Every synergological proposition put forward in training courses has been put to the falsifiability test.
Verifying the observations
Non-verbal communication is one of the few fields in the humanities in which it is possible to verify observations. If you practise psychology for example, it is not always easy to define consciousness. To say that this or that person does this or that, driven by a given unconscious strategy, is not always formally provable. The propositions made in Synergology are of a different order. They are verifiable! With non-verbal communication everything can be seen and therefore verified, validated or invalidated.
Example: In Synergology, we say that in a person experiencing a positive emotion the two lower palpebral fissures (the muscle under the eye) are always retracted, preventing us from making out the white of the eye. There are no two ways about it – it is either true or false. It is very easy to verify the truth or falseness of the proposition. All you have to do is store videos of people who are in a state of high positive excitement (a win in a sporting tournament, an election victory) All it would take is for one person, on more than one video out of ten, to reveal the whites of their eyes under the pupils (dilated palpebral fissures) to invalidate that synergological proposition. For the proposition to be entirely true, you then have to compare the images of eyes in a positive state of excitement with expressions in which the eyes are sad. This is done by precise observation of the shape of the lower palpebral fissure of the sad eyes. In this instance, the white of the eye is quite visible under the iris.
Evaluation criteria of the truth are easily verifiable We do not hesitate to say that there are charlatans operating in the field of interpreting non-verbalcommunication. We say this simply because their propositions, which are usually made in books, are not up to verification standards. They present as truths statements that they would be quite incapable of demonstrating formally. What saves their bacon is the credulity of the public. We make ample demonstration of this in our training courses, and take every opportunity to present our propositions to scientists, as required by the Synergology Code of Ethics. The aim of Synergology is to make available to those from other disciplines a tool to strengthen their convictions, by giving them definitive validation by means of the non-verbal communication grid. Making propositions that are as scientifically acceptable as they are open to criticism based on scientific criteria lies at the heart of the synergological method. Synergology submits any proposition about non-verbal communication made outside its own sphere to the same critical scrutiny it imposes on itself. Thirty years of observing non-verbal communication, establishing the discipline, of teaching drawn from scientific contributions, and especially twenty years of rigorous methodology, allow us today to make propositions about non-verbal communication that are beyond doubt.
Synergology asserts that the ten propositions set out below are in fact, underneath their banality, scientific propositions. What allows us to state this with such certainty? Well, for each of the following propositions to be untrue, it would be enough to find 10% of counter-examples. In the field of pure science, and Synergology can also be evaluated according to this model, it is impossible to demonstrate that a proposition is true. It is, however, possible to demonstrate that it is false. This is what is known in pure science as the falsifiability criterion.
Take the first example: A happy person communicates by speaking with both hands. All it would take is for more than one person in ten who was really happy (e.g.: the thrill of winning a sporting competition, winning an election, hearing good news) but who only communicated this with one part of their body, for the proposition “A happy person communicates with both hands” to be declared false.The following ten scientific propositions: a few examples of synergological propositions that have been tested countless times and have been proved to be true: 1: A happy person communicates with both hands. 2: A relaxed person looks at his/her interlocutor with the left eye. 3: A person who has had a big fright conveys fear by showing the whites of the eyes above the pupil. 4: A person who is being open communicates with supinating (i.e., slightly turned towards the interlocutor) palms. 5: A person hiding the palms of the hands behind their back is being reticent. 6: A person who systematically communicates with the right hand is being careful about what he/she says. 7: In a situation of well-being, if the interlocutor is facing him/her, a person who is listening inclines his/her head slightly to the left. 8: A critical person always looks at their interlocutor with the right eye. 9: A person who has stopped listening to you stops blinking the eyes. 10: The eyebrows of an angry person form a sort of slight V-shape.
Once apprehended, the information is segmented into different items. Synergology segments all human non-verbal communication into a number of items. These items are clearly and objectively identifiable. When the items are observed on video, a synergologist can distinguish 15 to 20 different items in a single second. Examples of items are: The head is slightly inclined to the right in the lateral axis. The person looks with the left eye. The lower palpebral fissure of both eyes retracts. The right pupil dilates more than the left. The sides of the nose are retracted. The person speaks using the left hand. The gesture is projective.
This allows the Synergologist to classify information on the emotional grid into eight categories and is especially important for all emotions that express lies. The discourse says one thing and the body shows another. Conscious language and unconscious language are therefore classified into two different and opposing categories. It is these discrepancies that are what is most interesting about Synergology. The items are grouped together by a method known as assattes. The litteral meaning of assattes is “association of attitudes”. The assattes enable Synergology to quantify signs and thereby propose a framework of meaning.
The main pitfall in Synergology is intuition. Although Intuition is generally a reliable guide, it can be misleading. In Synergology, if we are misled by our intuition, it is often because when we observe a person, we trust our intuition without taking the precaution of really monitoring what we are thinking. The assattes method enables to perform a scientific synergological analysis which takes into account inductive reasoning and inference. Here is a specific example: you come across a person who seems to you to be sad. How can you know for certain whether their sadness is genuine? The degree of sadness must be measured.
Example: If you say that a person is sad because a corner of their mouth is turned down and you conclude that the person is sad on the basis of that one sign, you cannot say that your observation is very meaningful: you are qualifying the attitude with an assatte 1. We assert that this person is sad according to an assatte 1 (a corner of the mouth is turned down). This is a very weak observation that does not really make sense. On the other hand, if you say that this person is sad because both corners of the mouth are turned down (you have 2 items), because their left eyelid is closed (1 item), the person is not blinking (1 item), that you can see the whites of the eyes under the pupil (1 item), that the outer eyebrow is turned down (1 item), that the lips are white (1 item), that the shoulders are drooping (1 item), that the sagittal axis of the head is drooping (1 item , that the person is staring at you with the right eye in its rotational axis (1 item , that the person’s statue is withdrawn (1 item) and that the legs are crossed outwardly in relation to you (1 item), then the sadness is described using an assatte 12. This constitutes a very meaningful indicator of the withdrawal of your interlocutor. You will then be able to argue in favour of the person’s sadness without risk of being mistaken.
Synergology distinguishes between (a) Weak assatte: 1 to 3, (b) Moderate assatte: 4 to 8, (c) Strong assatte: 9 or more. If we project our own states on to the person observed, and the person is not feeling the emotion we describe, the assatte that we derive will be weak. A number of elements will not square with what we thought we had observed. Classification tables of the emotions allow synergologists to be almost certain that they are not mistaken. More to read about verification in french: synergologie.org