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7 Facial Expressions: What They Really Mean

disgust

Someone who’s disgusted wrinkles his or her nose and has narrowed eyes. Usually the mouth parts somewhat because of the nose wrinkling.

More to Watch Out For
Beyond microexpressions, there are a few telltale signs that someone’s not being genuine. For example, most real expressions last a few seconds—four or five, tops. If someone’s huge smile or scared look lasts longer than that, it’s suspect. Some also believe that eye movements during story-telling say something about truthfulness. Eyes moving upward and to the right when explaining something might mean the person’s searching through his or her brain bank for details, whereas looking up and to the left suggests a deceptive tale. (This would be reversed if he or she’s left-handed.)

According to Ekman, it’s better to look at the upper part of the face because it’s harder to control our impulsive facial expressions in that area, such as narrowed eyes or raised eyebrows. So if you’re watching someone’s face for signs revealing their inner thoughts, focus on that area first.

One Piece of the Puzzle
Even the most educated experts at lie detection can’t get it right every time and that’s because humans are complex creatures with a multitude of mannerisms that vary in meaning. We can learn to recognize facial expressions—and even to see the flashes of expressions that give away our inner thoughts—but that alone won’t tell us what’s behind the hidden emotions.

In other words, seeing a significant other’s half-second fearful look while they’re explaining why they were out so late is significant, but it doesn’t indicate that they’re lying. If anything, they might just be afraid you won’t believe the truth. Either way, you’ll know there’s an issue worth exploring. Reading faces may not be foolproof, but at least it gives us something to work with.

 

 

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416 comments

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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

10:49PM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

"From the "thank you" and "very interesting" comments to this article, I am reading "tell me something that I don't know" or "boring"."

I've noticed that too, and just chalked it up to people who don't want to put any real effort into collecting their Butterfly points.

Another point I'd like to make is that reading facial expressions is crucial to how we communicate and perceive one another - and why so many of us may be uneasy regarding things like full-veiling (as in burkas and similar face-covering garments). You can hear the woman's voice, but not clearly, and you have NO idea if her facial expressions match what she is saying.


3:10PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

I think I knew most of these, but I still learned some new info. Oh, and I don't think the pictures were always the best examples of these things, but like the article said, it's hard to imitate these things, and from the looks of it, the woman was trying to show these expressions without really feeling the emotions.

6:51AM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

thanks

11:02AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

interesting

2:29PM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

Interesting, although I was not convinced by 'Fear', that didn't look like fear to me.

Thanks for posting.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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