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Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life
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Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  6,467 ratings  ·  246 reviews

A renowned expert in nonverbal communication, Paul Ekman led a revolution in our scientific understanding of emotions. In Emotions Revealed, he assembles his research and theories to provide a comprehensive look at the evolutionary roots of human emotions, including anger, sadness, fear, disgust, and happiness.

Drawing on decades of fieldwork, Ekman shows that emotions are
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published April 7th 2003)
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Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Lie to Me, anyone interested in non-verbal communication
Probably unsurprisingly, given my interests and passions, I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Paul Ekman, who is the real-life inspiration behind Lie to Me's Cal Lightman (well, up to the end of s1 anyway)

The book felt like it was really in two parts - one was theoretical and covered the concepts of what exactly emotions are (generally and in specific), the research behind claiming that certain emotions are universal, and the possible evolutionary usefulness of both emotion in general, and of spec
Stefana Raileanu
It's obvious that many people who read it are fans of the TV series ''Lie to me''. Well, yeah, this book is more for amateurs.
I don't mean it wasn't worth reading, but I would have liked it more if the author exposed his researches more briefly. Anyway, I understand why Ekman wrote it in such a familiar way. His readers are very diverse.

I found ''Telling Lies'' a more useful book.
Bob Nichols
Ekman writes about "the" emotions. These are anger, sadness, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt, happiness.

While his focus is on universal facial expressions, Ekman has a lot to say about emotions. They "can go on for minutes." Anything beyond a few seconds or minutes is a mood. Beyond that they are a personality type. Emotions have specific triggers, but moods "just happen" for unknown reasons. Emotions motivate our lives and we "organize ourselves" to maximize positive emotions and to minimize
Amir Tesla
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
Paul Ekman is world-famous for his discoveries of facial expressions, the subtle changes on the face on the face when a person feels a particular emotion.

This book talks about 6 universal emotions along with how they are manifested in people's face. Also it teaches you how to recognize them when someone is trying to suppress the felt emotions.

Each chapter sparks off by an introduction to the emotion that is to be discussed in the chapter which is boring like hell and then is followed by an awe
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
He is the one and only - Paul Ekman -. He discovered micro-expressions (tiny facial expressions that only last for a fraction of a second), caused a stir among psychologists and researchers by claiming and proving that some facial expressions are innate, thus universal (he ventured a trip to New Guinea for the love of research) and has put a full-stop to the question - are expressions and gestures socially learned or culturally variable-, he has worked as a lie detector and revealed criminals an ...more
Stuart Macalpine
A life time's work studying emotional facial expression, is made accessible to a general reader.

Ekman shapes a number of aspects of cognitive coaching, which is how I came to the book, especially the problem resolving map. The text supports an understanding that the major emotions have a strong transcultural identity and transcultural, distinct facial muscle movements - which is no great surprise! - but more importantly he identifies all the nuances that any normal human being would never pick u
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
I wasn't a huge fan of this book... I notice a lot of people read it because the author is involved in a TV program. I'm giving it two stars because it did have a smattering of information buried under all his anecdotes and repetitive reminders. I don't disagree with him at all about his main point, which is that facial expressions emotions are universal. The best part of the book was probably the pictures of the different expressions or partial expressions. I highlighted a few things that I tho ...more
Betsy Gant
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book became a lengthy read for me, and I probably could have read faster if I had not tried to read the book like a textbook. But because I read Ekman's book like a textbook, I feel like I have meditated on the concepts more than I would have if I had just "sped read." I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in this topic. Obviously, this is a complicated field of study and Ekman does a great job explaining his research in layman's terms. Good stuff!
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you watched and enjoyed “Lie to Me” – a television program that ran for 3 seasons – you are likely to enjoy this book. Lie to Me is based on the work of Dr. Paul Ekman (played beautifully by Tim Roth in the show), a world expert on facial expressions and a professor of psychology at the University of California medical school. Using photographs and stories, Ekman tells and shows us how facial expressions are rich with information. He also talks about what triggers emotion and what each emotio ...more
Frank Aaskov
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book on micro-expressions and on how to read emotions from people's faces. Ekman's research has inspired the TV-series "Lie to Me", which illustrates his work with reading facial emotions. The book gives you a more thorough insight, detailing seven different emotions and how they are universally portrayed in the face of all humans. The first four chapters were in my opinion a bit of waste as they had a tendency to be sort of self-help-book-ish, and gave the impression of less than se ...more
Randall Li
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
A pretty dense read. The information can probably be broken down into two components -- how to understand your own emotions and how to understand the emotions of others. I found the insight into understanding and controlling your own emotions most helpful and will certainly apply some of the knowledge to my own life. Understanding the emotions of others seemed a bit too nuanced and mechanical for me to put into practice, but this might be easier if I had some formal training. Regardless, I think ...more
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part, about how emotions grow and how you can research them, was pretty awesome. However, I found the chapters about each individual emotion quite boring, and then it suddenly feels like a pretty long book to read cover to cover.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
good book for helping you recognise your own emotions. It was insightful reading it
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: en
I simply expected more. I didn't find the situational examples useful, but I was fascinated by Ekman's research. Although it's not totally relevant from the perspective of the main topic, it somehow disappointed me right at the beginning when Ekman wrote, I quote "AIDS is such a virus." Such a well-researched scientist can't leave a mistake like that in his book! AIDS is not a virus but a set of symptoms and illnesses that occur at the final stage of HIV infection. HIV is a virus. AIDS is not. I ...more
Alex Railean
The book has lots of photos that illustrate the author's point. The author's collection of annotated photos could be a good training set for a neural network.
Richard Kemp
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: emotions
Following are parts I found interesting, some slightly reworded to make sense out of context.

Page 30

What I have termed micro expressions, very fast facial movements lasting less than one—fifth of a second, are one important source of leakage, revealing an emotion a person is trying to conceal. A false expression can be betrayed in a number of ways: it is usually very slightly asymmetrical, and it lacks smoothness in the way it flows on and off the face.

Page 34

Why do we become emotional when
Michael Sturgeon
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ekman is very well known for his writing and research pertaining to facial expressions. In particular, he has definitely done his fair share of research on this and emotion. Moreover, he has the research that supports the connection for his discoveries of facial expressions and emotions.

This book is being used in universities for psychology courses, so those that say this book is ..."for amateurs" have not taken the time to review Ekman's primary research resources to see just how deep this does
Great content, but sometimes dull and slow (3.5)--

The content is fascinating, but at times, especially the first 4 chapters, it was really slow going and made me nod off more than a few times.

The chapters on sadness/agony, anger, fear/surprise, disgust/contempt, and enjoyable emotions, however, are excellent and I was all attention as I gobbled up the tremendously practical information about each emotion and corresponding facial expression.

The descriptions of some of the photos could have been b
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ekman shows how facial expressions and emotions are virtually inseparable, even if it’s just for a millisecond, and even if we are totally unaware of it, our emotions beam through every muscle fiber in our face. Even if we try to control it, these micro expressions peak for just a fraction of second, for most of us. He traveled to parts of the world, such as New Guinea, where some groups of cultures are cut off from the rest of the world. He found that even these people can recognize the emotion ...more
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm probably one of the few people who found out about the show Lie to Me because I was a fan of Paul Ekman, and not the other way around.

For those of you who've never heard of the man, he pioneered the psychological study of emotional displays, showing that there are certain universals across all cultures. He also was one of the first psychologists to study the use of emotional displays in lie detection.

This book was mainly about the first of those two fields, how to recognize the displays of
Nancy McKinley
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Being on the Autism Spectrum I need a bit of help recognizing some of the more complex emotions on other's faces. This book was somewhat helpful in this area but I think this could have been handled more effectively by using an actor to display each emotion instead of the author's own daughter who is no actor.
There is more to emotions than facial features broken down into specific patterns. The eyes give so much away. All and all I took away some from this book somewhat.
Apr 25, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: i-give-up
Ekman's dry prose was hard going, and I felt that, at this moment, the potential revelations weren't worth the slog. SKimming through, it seems like it hosts a wealth of interesting information which might be beneficial for people in management or involved in something or another that requires dealing with people on a regular basis.
Dan  Dumitrescu
More info about how the emotions develop and occurs and less information about how to read them. still good study about emotions
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Must-read if you want to understand different facial expressions that people make
Greg Enslen
Great book. Lots of insights into emotions. Can't wait to watch "Lie to Me" now - the show is based on Paul Ekman's work.
Rhonda Sue
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You start off taking a test to see if you can ID facial expressions. It is not easy to do. If you want to learn a bit about emotions and how you can manage them or ID them in others you'll enjoy this book.

Here is a summation of emotions: (pp 234-5) There is a feeling, a set of sensations that we experience and are aware of. An emotional episode can be brief. If it lasts for hours it's a mood, not an emotion. It's about something that matters to the person. They happen to us, we don't choose them
Jun 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I am amused to the extent that this book talks about emotions without getting into psychology. Sometimes it comes very close (in the chapter about anger for example (though it’s wrong, but I won’t judge)), but it never crosses over.
It’s almost as if someone came up with a character just on the cusp of discovering meta cognition. Yet never quite does. Fascinating.

The book does provide some rare information on how to mechanically produce an emotion via manipulation of the facial muscles (and vic
Adam Tait
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book on emotions with a scientific background? Yes, please. Emotions Revealed is great resource for learning about your own emotions, recognizing emotions in others and reading emotions in facial expressions. Think of this book like the "Thinking Fast and Slow" for emotions. The author (a professor at UCSF) has spent his career studying the recognition & expression of emotion across cultures. This book is an introduction to the results of his research.

Some of the major topics include:
+ the st
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A stalwart in the field of emotion research, Ekman does well to summarize his body of research. This book would serve well those interested in understanding how to interpret emotions from a purely physical level, possibly increasing empathy and compassion. In truth, this book does an amazing job of summarizing the muscular contractions in the face that depict emotion. However, I find that the other parts of each chapter--how to regulate and respond to emotion--in this edition lacks some of the u ...more
Aug 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book has too many mistakes to be made by a social scientist and for having a published date of 2003. I actually went back and checked if the book was written in the 50s-70s, given the way it talks about non-western people.

As someone mentioned in another review, AIDS is not a virus;
Constantly referring to societies and groups as 'cultures';
The Stone Age terminology reads condescending and inappropriate;
"I have studied normal people..." Page 15... I

As an anthropologist, I don't mind the conv
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American psychologist that pioneered the study of emotions' relationship to facial expressions.

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“Emotions can override…the more powerful fundamental motives that drive our lives: hunger, sex, and the will to survive. People will not eat if they think the only food available is disgusting. They may even die, although other people might consider that same food palatable. Emotion triumphs over the hunger drive! A person may never attempt sexual contact because of the interference of fear or disgust, or may never be able to complete a sexual act. Emotion triumphs over the sex drive! And despair can overwhelm even the will to live, motivating a suicide. Emotions triumph over the will to live!” 33 likes
“Emotions change how we see the world and how we interpret the actions of others. We do not seek to challenge why we are feeling a particular emotion; instead, we seek to confirm it.” 8 likes
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