Face It! - Dr. Ekman's Blog

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. […]

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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 […]

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A Special CEB Training Opportunity

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 […]

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September 11th: Then and Now

Remembering the attacks through the eyes of an emotions expert September 11, 2017 It was sixteen years ago on September 11th that the twin towers in New York City were destroyed by the airplanes that flew into them. It was a shock. Not since 1941, when Pearl Harbor was targeted, had America been attacked, and […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Dangers of Reading Micro Expressions

Do We Really Want People to Learn How to Spot Micro Facial Expressions? June 21, 2017 By definition, micros 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. My Micro Expression Training Tool (METT) enables […]

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The Truth Behind 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 […]

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Rent A Womb

Surrogacy and the Right of the Child May 9, 2017 by Mary Ann Mason and Tom Ekman Mary Ann Mason is the COO of the Paul Ekman Group and the wife of psychologist, Paul Ekman. She is a national expert in children’s rights, child custody issues and family law and policy. Tom Ekman is a […]

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Mottos I Live By

Inspiration behind my success April 12, 2017 With no parent to guide my passage through the bumps encountered emerging from adolescence into adulthood (mother died when I was 14, and I did not speak to my father for a decade afterwards), I deliberately sought mottos I could use to help me navigate. Three played an […]

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Cultivating Emotional Balance Teacher Training

CEBTT 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 […]

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“Atlas of Emotions” Event

San Francisco Exploratorium 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 […]

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Growing Old

Reflections on my 83rd Birthday March 14, 2017 While reflecting on aging, sensible living may have played a role, but genetic endowment and luck were more important. Contrary to what I have read other ‘seniors’ to have said, I am not proud, but instead grateful for having lived so long. I still enjoy much of […]

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Rethinking Love

Is love an emotion? February 14, 2017 Is love an emotion? Let’s put aside loving your job or a piece of clothing, in which the use of the word “love” is as a superlative. That still leaves romantic love and parental love: Are either of these emotions? I think not and here’s why: the time frame […]

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Anger Can Be Useful

Your anger problem and you January 27, 2017 We shouldn’t try to get rid of anger, which seems to be the mistaken goal of some new age-y groups and some Buddhist-influenced practitioners. Anger is not always destructive; it wouldn’t have been preserved over the course of the evolution of our species if it was inherently […]

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Life as Our Ancestors Lived It

  January 11, 2017 In most of the time human beings have lived on Earth, it was in circumstances very different from those we encounter now. I learned about how people might have lived in Stone Age cultures when I lived in one fifty years ago. I chose to do so in order to examine […]

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Respectful Disagreements

November 29, 2016 I suspect that some of us encountered disagreements about the president-elect, the state of the country, the world, and what to do about any or all of it during our holiday gatherings. How can we best deal with disagreements when they are about matters we care about? When such a disagreement becomes apparent […]

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Despair and Exaltation: Our Country Divided

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 […]

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“Nonverbal Messages: Cracking the Code”

Nonverbal Messages: Cracking the Code 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 […]

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The President’s Personality

October 11, 2016 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 […]

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Constructive Anger

September 22, 2016 The following excerpt about constructive anger is taken from the book of dialogue between the Dalai Lama and myself, entitled Emotional Awareness (2009). Having just reread it, I found nothing to change; I still believe it raises the right question, makes a useful suggestion and offers a practice to learn it. It […]

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Emblematic Slips

September 7, 2016 I don’t use the term gesture because it is too imprecise. Instead, I distinguish three very different ways in which movements (usually of the hands, but sometimes of the head or shoulders) provide information. Illustrators is a term I coined for those movements that occur during speech as it is spoken: tracing […]

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

August 25, 2016 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. […]

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Should We Torture Suspected Terrorists?

July 26, 2016 The Republican candidate for the presidency has recommended torturing terrorist suspects. While former Vice President Dick Cheney was known to advocate the use of torture in some circumstances, many thought torture had been abandoned by President Obama. The president chose not to condemn those who in the past may have used torture, […]

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Eve Ekman on Cultivating Emotional Balance

June 23, 2016 Our emotional responses shape our experience of the world. Emotions can feel profoundly enriching, as when we feel pride from great success or the elation of new love. They can also feel painfully unbearable, as with profound grief or embarrassment. Sometimes we may want to hold on to emotions forever, and other […]

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Our Emotional Reactions to Terrorism

June 22, 2016 Most of us have no trouble recognizing what emotion we feel unless for some reason we don’t think that we should be feeling that emotion. But the tragic events in Paris, San Bernardino and now Orlando are likely to have had a complex emotional impact, which might be confusing if not untangled. […]

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Why I Don’t Call the Dalai Lama “Your Holiness”

May 25, 2016 As many of you are already aware, Eve Ekman and I just recently released the Atlas of Emotions, a visual exploration of the human range of emotions. It was the Dalai Lama who asked me to make a map of emotions so people could navigate to a calm state of mind. This led […]

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Paul Ekman on The Takeaway

Listen to Paul Ekman on The Takeaway, a national public radio show, co-produced by WNYC, PRI, New York Times, & WGBH Friday May 20, 2016: What is the Atlas of Emotions and why did the Dalai Lama ask Dr. Paul Ekman to create it? The Atlas of Emotions entails making us aware of the complexity […]

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How I Became Friends with the Dalai Lama

May 16, 2016 Like most other important events in my life, meeting the Dalai Lama was not a deliberate choice, but an accident. I avoided anything about him, regarding the interest in the Dalai Lama as just another bay area cult like Synanon. But when my then 15-year-old daughter Eve came back from trekking in […]

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Introducing the Atlas of Emotions

May 10, 2016 I am pleased to announce the launch of our newest project, the Atlas of Emotions: www.atlasofemotions.com. The Atlas was featured on Saturday in the New York Times. The Dalai Lama said that we needed a map to get to the new world and asked whether I could create a map of the […]

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Atlas of Emotions Press Release

May 9, 2016 Backed by funding from the Dalai Lama, Dr. Paul Ekman and Dr. Eve Ekman announce the launch of the Atlas of Emotions www.atlasofemotions.com San Francisco, California – Dr. Paul Ekman and his daughter, Dr. Eve Ekman, have built the world’s first interactive mapping of how emotions influence our lives, titled the Atlas of […]

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Atlas of Emotions in the New York Times

May 6, 2016 As featured in The New York Times (Inner Peace? The Dalai Lama Made a Website for That) ROCHESTER, Minn. — The Dalai Lama, who tirelessly preaches inner peace while chiding people for their selfish, materialistic ways, has commissioned scientists for a lofty mission: to help turn secular audiences into more self-aware, compassionate humans. […]

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What Scientists Who Study Emotion Agree About

April 12, 2016 Originally published in the Perspectives on Psychological Science What Scientists Who Study Emotion Agree About Paul Ekman University of California, San Francisco and Paul Ekman Group, LLC Abstract In recent years, the field of emotion has grown enormously—recently, nearly 250 scientists were identified who are studying emotion. In this article, I report […]

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Trusting Can Be Dangerous

December 8, 2015 I have spent a lot of time in the last thirty years advising police, both regional and national, on how to evaluate truthfulness. You can see some of the training tools we used here. Police make mistakes, not just with Black people, although implicit or explicit racism causes a higher rate of mistaken […]

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Is Love an Emotion?

November 11, 2015 Is love an emotion? Let’s put aside loving your job or a piece of clothing in which the use of the word “love” is as a superlative. That still leaves romantic love and parental love: Are either of these emotions? I think not and here’s why-the time frame for emotions and love […]

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Ineffectively Testing the Effectiveness of TSA

November 11, 2015 TSA personnel in the SPOT program (Screening Passengers with Observational Techniques) have come under repeated, unjustified criticism. Their failure to catch people pretending to be bad guys is totally irrelevant to whether they will actually catch the real bad guys. Lets get back to the real world.  Money smugglers, weapons smugglers, and […]

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5 Signs of Lying That Aren’t as Foolproof as You’d Think

November 2, 2015 As seen on Yahoo Health by Temma Ehrenfeld Think you can spot a liar? Think again.  Too bad every liar isn’t Pinocchio, with a tell-all nose. But do our faces give lying away in more subtle ways? The answer is often yes — though the science of exactly how is surprisingly complex. […]

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Dr. Paul Ekman on Torture

August 17, 2015 As seen in the Huffington Post I was approached soon after 9/11 by a senior psychologist, who held office in APA, to participate in the government’s newly developing interrogation program. I declined, although I had already developed techniques for establishing better emotional connections with interviewees, through my work on nonverbal behavior, facial […]

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Paul Ekman Alumni Awards

July 20, 2015 This summer, Dr. Paul Ekman received two awards from two universities dear to his heart: UCSF’s 150th Anniversary Alumni Excellence Award and University of Chicago’s Professional Achievement Award Below are photos from both ceremonies.

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The Science of ‘Inside Out’

July 3, 2015 As seen on the New York Times FIVE years ago, the writer and director Pete Docter of Pixar reached out to us to talk over an idea for a film, one that would portray how emotions work inside a person’s head and at the same time shape a person’s outer life with […]

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A Force for Good

June 22, 2015 A note from Dan Goleman: As I was interviewing the Dalai Lama for my book A FORCE FOR GOOD: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World, Paul Ekman’s work came up repeatedly. The Dalai Lama places great importance, for one, on Paul’s mapping the emotions – a tool that can help people […]

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8 Myths about Lying

June 8, 2015 by Paul Ekman, Ph.D. as featured on Forbes. Myth #1 – Everyone lies. Not so. Not about serious matters, not about lies which if caught could result in the end of a relationship, employment, freedom, large sums of money or life itself. Those are what I call high stake lies; they are […]

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Investigating Terrorism: Current Political, Legal and Psychological Issues

John Pearse, Ph.D Vice President of Paul Ekman Group January 20, 2015 Unfortunately terrorism is all around us as recent global events continue to demonstrate.  Across America, throughout Europe and around the world people took to the streets to peacefully protest against the terrorist atrocities that had left 17 dead in Paris, France last week. […]

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#PictureCompassion: What Compassion Looks Like to You!

September 9, 2014 We’ve asked our community to join in on our movement for Global Compassion by participating in our #PictureCompassion campaign. After looking through many inspiring photos, we’ve selected our top 5 favorites!                   A Note from Dr. Paul Ekman:  As our submitted photos show, compassion is the desire to help someone who […]

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Catching Liars

August 2014 From a distance of twenty feet, without your knowledge or consent, the surveillance cameras, microphones and physiological sensors apply computer algorithms to process your gait, facial expression, gestures, voice, posture, heart rate, blood pressure and skin temperature — determining within seconds if you are lying or telling the truth. “Diogenes,” the lie catching […]

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#AskEkman: How do I become a facial expression expert?

July 2014 The most popular questions we receive at the Paul Ekman Group are questions relating to which courses and universities are best equipped to promote a career in becoming an expert in facial expressions and emotion. The answer to this question depends on what level of education you are seeking, and what topic interests […]

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Is Snowden Lying?

June 2014 Many readers have asked whether Snowden was lying in his recent NBC-TV interview, knowing I have worked for the government and corporations spotting lies by how someone behaves. When I attempt to evaluate truthfulness I need to be the one asking the questions, able to ask follow up questions, allowed as many hours […]

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Who Should Know How You Are Feeling?

May 2014 Where you go on the Internet, where you travel on city streets, that and more is all up for grabs Google? NSA? Walmart? It soon may be possible for them to track your emotions in addition to your whereabouts without your knowledge or consent. No regulations from the government to prevent massive surveillance […]

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Global Compassion and the Nigerian Schoolgirls

May 2014 Why do we care when we see the Nigerian schoolgirls who are the prisoners of Boko Haram? We DO watch. Most of us don’t change channels. Why? There is nothing which ordinarily might catch our eyes: no one is badly injured, or beautifully dressed, or posing in a sexy way. And no one […]

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