“I strive to improve people’s understanding of their emotional life and aid those responsible for public safety by taking the discoveries I made and translating them into practical tools and training programs, based on solid research about the nature of our emotions, trust, and deception.” – Paul Ekman
Paul Ekman International plc and its Licensed Delivery Centres will take this work forward so we can contribute to a more emotionally aware, secure and compassionate world by making this work accessible to all”.
The New York Times article The 43 Facial Muscles That Reveal said
Dr. Paul Ekman, the professor of psychology who has become the world’s most famous face reader, is much in demand these days.
The Dalai Lama and Dr. Ekman, who have met twice, found such synergy in their understanding of human emotions that the Dalai Lama gave Dr. Ekman $50,000 in seed money to learn how to improve emotional balance in schoolteachers and other people in high pressure jobs.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and state and local police forces have turned to Dr. Ekman for help learning to read subtle emotional cues from the faces, voices and body language of potential assassins, terrorists and questionable visa applicants.
Dr. Paul Ekman, is a pioneer in the study of emotions and facial expressions, and is professor emeritus of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California Medical School (UCSF) where he was active for 32 years. He currently continues to consult on research and training related to emotion and deception.
Contrary to the belief of some anthropologists at the time including Margaret Mead, Paul found that at least some facial expressions and their corresponding emotions are not culturally determined, but appear to be universal to human culture and thus presumably biological in origin, as Charles Darwin had once theorized. His finding is now widely accepted by scientists. Expressions he found to be universal included anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness and surprise. Findings on contempt are less clear, though there is at least some preliminary evidence for its being universally recognized.
Paul reported facial microexpressions that could be used to reliably detect concealed emotions. He also developed the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) to taxonomize every conceivable human facial expression.
He received his undergraduate education at the University of Chicago and New York University. He received his Ph.D. from Adelphi University in 1958 after spending a year in clinical internship at the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, part of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He served as chief psychologist in the U.S. Army, Fort Dix, New Jersey from 1958–1960. On discharge he returned to UCSF where he held a three year postdoctoral research fellowship. He then initiated his research program supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the DOD, loosely affiliated with UCSF. In 1972 he was appointed Professor of Psychology at UCSF.
His interests have focused on two separate but related topics. He originally focused on nonverbal behavior, and by the mid-60s concentrated on the expression and physiology of emotion. His second interest is interpersonal deception.
Ekman is co-author of Emotion in the Human Face (1971), Unmasking the Face (1975), Facial Action Coding System (1978), editor of Darwin and Facial Expression (1973), co-editor of Handbook of Methods in Nonverbal Behavior Research (1982), Approaches to Emotion (1984), The Nature of Emotion (1994), What the Face Reveals (1997), and author of Face of Man (1980), Telling Lies (1985, paperback, 1986, second edition, 1992, third edition, 2001, 4th edition 2008), Why Kids Lie (1989, paperback 1991), Emotions Revealed, (2003), New Edition (2009) Telling Lies, Dalai Lama-Emotional Awareness (2008) and New Edition Emotions Revealed (2007). He is the editor of the third edition (1998) and the fourth edition (2009) of Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1998). He has published more than 100 articles.
Awards and Honors
- 1983: Faculty Research Lecturer, University of California, San Francisco
- 1991: Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award – American Psychological Association’s highest award for basic research
- 1994: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, University of Chicago
- 1998: William James Fellow Award, given by the American Psychological Society
- 2001: Named by the American Psychological Association as one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century based on publications, citations and award
- 2008: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Adelphi University
- 2008-2011: Scientific Adviser to the FOX/Sky drama ‘Lie to Me’ based on his work/experience
- 2009: TIME Magazine’s Top 100 most influential people of 2009.
The Science of Paul Ekman
The wide applications and benefits of this emotion based training are outlined by Dr Ekman as follows: “In any transaction that matters whether it’s between lovers, between parent and child, between salesman and client, between doctor and patient, between suspect and interrogator, between adversaries at an election, emotion is what we’re looking for. Emotions tell us what matters.” – Paul Ekman