Thought Moments

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Thought Moments (2004) is an anthropological short film in the style of cinéma vérité by Michael Simon Toon. [1] Toon, a former Buddhist monk, [2] titled Thought Moments after the Buddhist term for the mental states we experience when a physical or mental object enters the mind. [3] The film is used in the study of microexpressions, eye accessing cues, and the universality of facial expressions. [4]

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Buddhism World religion, founded by the Buddha

Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognised by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana.


Toon (off camera) interviews a diverse sample of individuals in public places across the United Kingdom asking a set of ten simple but emotionally evocative questions. [5] [6] The film uses variable frame rates to highlight distinct emotions, as well as their sequence and timing, that each individual expresses within seconds or fractions of a second after being asked questions, such as "What do you love most?" "Are you happy or sad?" and "What are you afraid of?" [7]

Consistency of composition, lighting, and contrast facilitates the analysis of both the differences and similarities of the interviewees' facial expressions. [8] [9] Toon also released a version of the film with superimposed theoretical eye accessing cue chart. [10] Both versions are studied and reproduced by students of psychology in several languages. [11] [12] [13]


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  1. "Thought Moments." Film information. Complete Index To World Film. (C) Alan Goble 2005-2013.
  2. McGhie, Caroline. "The rise of Modernist, eco-friendly home." The Telegraph. Posted 10-26-2012. Accessed 8-8-13.
  3. "Thought Moments." British Films Directory. British Council. Updated 12-1-2009.
  4. Prof. Ragodí. "Trabajo Psicología de 1er Trimestre." El Bigote de Bernays. Blogspot. Updated 11-19-2009.
  5. Briggs, Barry. "Thought Moments." Ox-Herding. Blog. Posted 2-5-2010. (C)2008-2012 Barry Briggs. Accessed 8-5-13.
  6. Fisher, Adam. "questions that pin you to the wall." Genkaku-Again. Blog. Posted 11-2-2011. Accessed 8-5-13.
  7. Johan. "Thought Moments." Doe Es Effe Zen. Blog. Posted 2-5-2010. Accessed 8-5-13.
  8. Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (2003). Unmasking the Face. Cambridge: Malor Books., p.1.
  9. Alex. "'Thought Moments' by Michael Simon Toon." Healing Philosophy. Blog. Posted 12-7-2009. Accessed 8-5-13.
  10. Braun, Roman. "Eye Catcher." Trinergy-NLP-Blog. Posted 10-27-2009. Accessed 8-5-13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2013-08-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. Prof. Ragodí. "Trabajo Psicología de 1er Trimestre." El Bigote de Bernays. Blogspot. Updated 11-19-2009.
  12. mirac hakan. "Eye Accessing Cues." YouTube. Uploaded 3-18-2010, Istanbul, Turkey.
  13. supremearcher. "Thought Moments." YouTube. Uploaded 5-13-2011.
  14. "Thought Moments." British Films Directory. British Council. Updated 12-1-2009.
  15. "10th Annual Short Film and Video Festival Program." 10th Annual Short Film and Video Festival August 17–27, 2006. Thai Film Foundation. Posted by SHORT 10 18/08/06.