About Dr. Ekman's research
Dr. Paul Ekman has had a long and distinguished career in psychological research, and has contributed greatly to our understanding of human emotion. He is best known for his work in the late 1960’s when, along with colleague Wallace Friesen, he studied the Fore people of Papua New Guinea and demonstrated the six universal emotions and their micro expressions. After this discovery, Ekman and Friesen went on to develop the tool for measuring any and all facial movements – the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). These contributions benefit a broad range of fields, from animation to counter terrorism.
Dr. Ekman’s research on deception uncovered the existence of micro expressions that result from suppressing strongly felt emotion. He then developed the Micro Expressions tool which enables the user, in under an hour, to spot micro expressions. In recent years, Ekman served as Scientific Adviser to the popular television show ‘Lie to Me’. Recently, Dr. Ekman, with his daughter, Dr. Eve Ekman, created the Atlas of Emotions at the behest of the Dalai Lama.
Dr. Ekman’s recent projects span a continuum from recognition of malintent to recognition of our common humanity, with multiple stops along the way. His expertise applies to national security issues, counseling training, negotiation, family dynamics, professional education, 3D animation, awareness, and the mapping of human emotion.
In the past, Dr. Ekman has worked to train law enforcement in micro expression recognition; he hopes to develop his work further to determine whether malintent can be seen before violent action takes place. To that end, he has expressed a desire for law enforcement personnel to wear video cameras on their uniforms to enable data collection on human expression. Although this project is in its formative stages, new findings (and new technologies) suggest there is an opportunity for meaningful study here. Contact us if you are interested in supporting this work.
On an entirely different track, informed by his ongoing conversation with with the Dalai Lama, Dr. Ekman’s new ebook “Moving Towards Global Compassion” will be available in 2014. Readers are prompted to consider a variety of questions about our ability to extend compassion beyond our circle of those near and dear.
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
You can now browse our library of journal articles and book chapters authored by Dr. Ekman. All documents are in a convenient downloadable PDF format. Don’t see an article you are looking for? Contact us.
Several photographic image sets used by Dr. Ekman in his original research are still widely used in social science research. You may purchase these image sets for use in your research project. Note: if your work is going to be published, we request that you contact us for permission and/or invoicing prior to publication.
From time to time Dr. Ekman will be answering questions that come from you, our readers. You can submit questions via Twitter or Facebook (use #AskEkman along with your question). We’ll offer leads, links, and points of view and look forward to hearing from you. We’re especially keen to answer questions from researchers who are furthering Dr. Ekman’s work. If your question is selected, we may feature your query on the Paul Ekman Group blog and invite colleagues to read and comment.
NOTE: If you have questions about how to get into the field of studying micro expressions please take a look at our FAQ page for relevant information.
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