The Science of Success

Simple Keys To Reading Anyone’s Hidden Emotions with Psychology Legend Dr. Paul Ekman

January 11, 2018
In this episode we explore emotions and facial expression in depth with one of the world’s top experts - the psychologist who pioneered much of the work in this field - Dr. Paul Ekman. We discuss the 6-7 major universal emotions, how emotional reactions are unchanged across cultures, ages, and even species, we discuss micro expressions, reading people’s faces, how to manage and control your emotions, and much much more. 
Dr. Paul Ekman is best known for his work as a pioneer researching the field of emotions and how they relate to our facial expressions and as founder of the Paul Ekman Group. These studies along with many others led to Paul being named one of the top 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine and One of the Most Influential Psychologist of the 20th Century by the American Psychological Association. Paul has written over 14 books and 170 published articles having his work appear in Psychology Today, The New Yorker, Oprah, Larry King, and more.
  • Reading facial expressions with definitive evidence
  • There is some universality to our expressions across cultures, ages, and even species 
  • Expressions are a product of evolution 
  • There are 6-7 major universal emotions
    • Fear
    • Anger
    • Sadness
    • Disgust
    • Surprise
    • Enjoyment
    • Contempt (maybe not as robust evidence)
  • You have to avoid “Othello’s error” - you can read an emotion, but that doesn’t tell you what TRIGGERS it
  • The face, as a universal signal system, conveys a tremendous amount of information
  • There are 16 different types of enjoyment
  • How poker tells can teach us about emotional expressions and how we often read them wrong
  • We can know HOW people feel, but we cannot know what triggered how they feel
  • In one hour you can learn to read anyone's face
  • How making voluntary facial expressions can turn on and create any emotional statement
  • The hardest emotion to turn on is enjoyment
  • Emotions are memories, expectations, changes in what we think, and changes in how we can remember
  • When we are in the grip of an emotion - we most readily perceive things that fit the emotion we are experiencing and ignore things that don't
  • It’s not easy to manage your emotions, but it is possible
  • Fast onset vs slow onset emotional reactiveness
  • Fast vs slow emotional offset
  • The specific steps you can take to manage your emotions and create a gap between emotional triggers and emotional reactions
  • Diary / journal is a powerful tool for understanding and managing your emotional states
    • Record negative emotional experiences
    • See what they have in common
    • See if you can anticipate and prepare for negative emotions
  • Lessons from 50 hours with the Dalai Llama
  • Emotion is useful, powerful, but also can become cumbersome