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7 Facial Expressions: What They Really Mean

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7 Facial Expressions: What They Really Mean

By Cassandra Evanas, DivineCaroline

When trying to figure out whether someone’s lying to me, I look for the classic signs, as dictated by pop culture—shifty, averted eyes, twitching, rapid blinking, and so forth. But most psychologists and body language experts will tell you that none of those indicate lying. In fact, pinpointing a lie based on physical cues only works about half of the time, making it a guessing game at best.

What is true is that more is revealed by our mannerisms than we realize. Paul Ekman, a psychology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, believes that we make unconscious flashes of expressions—called microexpressions—that demonstrate our true feelings. And because they involve muscles that can’t be activated at will, these expressions are uncontrollable. But recognizing these hidden emotions requires learning to read between the furrowed brows and stretched lips.

The Seven Universal Expressions
Microexpressions pop up extremely briefly, ranging from 1/5 to 1/25 of a second in length, so most people don’t pick up on them without training. Ekman came up with seven standard expressions and their key components to look for when trying to figure out how the person you’re speaking with really feels.

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DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

421 comments

+ add your own
1:51AM PDT on May 13, 2015

I too can`t see any photos except for smiling Bernie Sanders : /

12:31AM PDT on May 13, 2015

This is very helpful, it’s really very effective information, really love that!
emotient

12:54PM PST on Nov 23, 2014

Thank you for sharing:) Very interesting

9:44AM PST on Nov 22, 2014

I can't see any photos; I will come back later!

8:43PM PST on Nov 18, 2014

Thank you.

2:26PM PDT on Oct 17, 2012

Thanks for the post.

11:02AM PDT on Oct 17, 2012

interesting, there was a tv program about this and they even showed examples.

10:01AM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

I am pretty good at knowing when people are not being honest with me in person.I was already aware of these expressions.Does anyone know of an article i can read on knowing when on-line people are lyeing to me.I don't trust anyone who I don't have a personal relationship with.

9:58AM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

I am pretty good at knowing when people are not being honest with me in person.I was already aware of these expressions.Does anyone know of an article i can read on knowing when on-line people are lyeing to me.I don't trust anyone who I don't have a personal relationship with.

9:08AM PST on Feb 29, 2012

I cant wait to go home and try lol

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