WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman

Paul Ekman has become a household name, and most people are familiar with his work on facial expressions of emotion. He focuses on how we express emotions on our faces, and in particular, how this can happen without any conscious effort on our part. In this book he introduces some foundational information about emotions across cultures, emotional triggers, and how we might be able to control what we feel and how we display it on our faces and in our voices. He includes specific chapters on sadness and agony, anger, surprise and fear, disgust and contempt and enjoyable emotions. There is also an appendix with images of faces so you can test your understanding of emotions from people’s facial expressions. If you are interested in more on this topic, there’s another book by Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen called Unmaking the Face that includes many practical exercises about facial expressions and emotions.

Since Paul Ekman’s rise to fame based on this work, his findings have been subject to much criticism. For an overview of some of the critiques, especially by neuroscientist Lisa Barrett, see https://www.bostonmagazine.com/…/emotions-facial…/3/

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