Why Do People Lie?

9 Motives for Telling Lies

Original excerpt from “Telling Lies” (p. 329-330) September 26, 2018 Reading between the lies Why do people lie? Such a simple question should come with a simple answer (but doesn’t, unfortunately). There are indications, however, that most of us share the same the motives for telling lies. Numbers don’t lie My data collected during interviews with children and from questionnaires completed by adults suggests that telling …

Emotional Awareness for Children

A new approach to provide emotional skills for children

July 11, 2018 A human experience We are the only creatures capable of attaching words to memories, anticipations, and plans; it is this unique ability that also allows us to think about emotional experiences, real or imagined, that we may not be feeling at that very moment. In its earliest stages, this is what emotional awareness looks and feels like. …

Verbal Deceit - Paul Ekman Group

Verbal Deceit

Why liars choose their words carefully

Excerpt from Telling Lies by Paul Ekman, PhD What liars pay attention to When lying, people usually do not monitor, control, and attempt to disguise all of their behavior; they probably couldn’t even if they wanted to. Instead, we tend to participate in verbal deceit, showing the most concern about choice of words. Liars censor what they say, carefully concealing messages …

smile mask emotional masks

Smile Mask

Using emotional masks to pull off deceit

March 28, 2018 Excerpt from “Telling Lies” by Paul Ekman, PhD The importance of the smile Any emotional expression can be falsified and used to conceal any other emotion. The smile mask, which is the most frequently employed of the emotional masks, serves as the opposite expression of the negative emotions – fear, anger, distress, disgust and so on. Who’s …

Spanish Micro Expressions Training Tools

Paul Ekman Group upgrades tools with new feature for Spanish training in micro expression detection

November 22, 2017 Striving to provide more inclusive educational opportunities, the Paul Ekman Group is now offering subtitles for Spanish Micro Expressions Training Tools, as well as closed captioning in English to support ESL and deaf or hard of hearing students. Our new subtitle and captioning features are currently available in Dr. Ekman’s two foundational micro expressions training tools: the Micro Expressions …

Las Vegas Shooter's Motivations

The Las Vegas Shooter’s Motivations

Looking to understand Stephen Paddock

October 18, 2017 While it’s easy to understand the horror he inflicted, truly comprehending the motivations of Stephen Paddock (the Las Vegas shooter), let alone empathizing with his outlook, is a very long reach. From news reports, it seems clear he was intent on having his actions publicly recognized. But to what end? Could it be just as simple as …

Cultivating Emotional Balance

A Special CEB Teacher Training Opportunity

A Letter from the Other Ekman

A Letter from the Other Ekman By Eve Ekman, PhD October 5, 2017 I am writing this letter to let you know about a special training opportunity which is very close to my heart and mind. The training is to become a certified Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB) teacher . Teaching CEB to nearly a thousand students in the last eight …

My Six Discoveries

My Six Discoveries

One scientist. Six discoveries. Fifty-five years in the making.

August 1, 2017 Number 1: Nonverbal behaviors provide accurate information. And it is not obscure; most people can derive at least some of that information with no trouble. It may be surprising now, but the general consensus when I started my research was that judgments based on facial expression and bodily movements were at best a source of stereotypes. Clinicians …

The President’s Personality: Reconsidered

New thoughts inspired by our current president

July 18, 2017 I subtitled this ‘Reconsidered’ because it was first written in September 2016. With a new president in office, I offer some additional thoughts prompted by what he has said and done. Presidential biographers, as well as experts, who have advised more than one president have said that the president’s personality has an important effect on how he …

Dangers Reading Micro Expressions

Dangers of Reading Micro Expressions

Do We Really Want People to Learn How to Spot Micro Facial Expressions?

June 21, 2017 The truth about micro expressions By definition, micro expressions leak emotions that people don’t want others to know they are feeling. Sometimes, even the person showing the micro is not aware of the emotion that is leaking out. Studying this phenomenon for over fifty years, I decided to provide others the opportunity to see what I could …

Lie to Me: Reality vs. Hollywood

The Truth Behind Lie to Me

Science of Lie to Me

As featured on the Lie to Me website (www.lietome.com) June 6, 2017 The beginning It was the very successful producer Brian Grazer’s idea, not mine. Googling him, I learned that Brian had produced A Beautiful Mind, and many other blockbusters. One of his assistants called, asking for a meeting to discuss creating a TV series based on my research. Would …

Cultivating Emotional Balance Teacher Training


The Cultivating Emotional Balance Training emerged from the Destructive Emotions dialogue between behavioral scientists and the Dalai Lama, Buddhist monks, and scholars at the Mind and Life Institute in Dharamsala, India, in March of 2000. At the culmination of this meeting the Dalai Lama requested that the important ideas raised in these sessions, specifically how to manage the everyday obstacles …

“Atlas of Emotions” Event

San Francisco Exploratorium

Emotions Education Join Drs. Paul and Eve Ekman as they discuss their latest project, Atlas of Emotions, at the San Francisco Exploratorium on Thursday, March 30. The Atlas of Emotions is an online interactive tool that has been accessed by over 700,000 individuals across the globe. This emotions education tool was funded by the Dalai Lama Trust after Dr. Paul …

Despair and Exaltation: Our Country Divided

2016 US Presidential Election

November 9, 2016 We all know the election was very close. Hillary Clinton had slightly more of the popular vote, but Donald Trump had the edge in the electoral vote, thereby winning the election for the Presidency. In a sense, then, both candidates’ supporters have something to celebrate. The losers in the electoral vote, those who supported Hillary Clinton, were …

“Nonverbal Messages: Cracking the Code”

Dr. Ekman's scientific autobiography now available

Excerpt taken from Introduction (pp. ix – xiv) November 1, 2016 “What motivated me to spend fifty years investigating facial expressions, gestures, emotion and lies? Why these topics, which had been abandoned as fruitless by the academic establishment?… In much of my life I have been a bit oppositional, some would say rebellious, so I am not surprised that I …

The President’s Personality

President Personality Traits

October 11, 2016 Evaluating Personality You don’t need my expertise in evaluating personality from demeanor to have been struck by the night and day differences between Donald J. Trump and Hillary R. Clinton in their recent debates. Does either one of them have the traits most desirable in a president? To help make that judgment here is my list of …

Should We Want a President Who Can’t or Won’t Lie?

Is honesty the best policy?

August 25, 2016 Presidents and Lying Would it be desirable to have a president who always told the truth; who played with his cards face up? Would that serve the national interest? Only if all those the president dealt with, domestically and internationally, did the same, and they won’t. Otherwise our president would be at a marked disadvantage. But there …