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Unmasking the Face by Paul Ekman
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Unmasking the Face

by Paul Ekman

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I'm obsessed with the Tim Roth show Lie to Me - this is by Pual Ekman, the facial expression researcher on whom the show is based. It's dry, but fascinating! ( )
  Whitney.Flocka.Flame | Apr 1, 2013 |
This book is hard to rate because it is a textbook, a specific niche book, and thus very detailed in a "how to" way, along with lots of explanation about research and theories which frankly made for dull reading. The ideas and the information are fascinating, however. This book is also some 40 years old and has not been updated, so I ran into places where (from other reading) I knew about more research and new applications of the information. So, for me, it was not an enjoyable or exciting read and I did not learn what I had hoped to, but I do feel I have some basic ideas and vocabulary. ( )
  Murphy-Jacobs | Mar 30, 2013 |
From the chapter FACIAL DECEIT

"Four Reasons Why People Control Facial Expressions
"We have coined the phrase DISPLAY RULES to describe what people learn, probably quite early in their lives, about the need to manage the appearance of particular emotions in particular situations. For example, middle-class, urban, white, adult males in the United States follow the display rule of not showing fear in public. Their female counterparts in the pre-matron or pre-maternal role follow the display rule of not showing anger in public. Originally, you may learn the display rule by being told what to do and not to do, or you may learn it by observation and imitation without ever being specifically instructed. Once learned, display rules operate as habits, much like driving a car. You don't think about what you are doing unless you find you have made a mistake. People pause to consider what display rule to follow only if they are in strange circumstances (display rules vary from culture to culture) or if they can't figure out what the situation is, what their role is, what is expected of them.
".... Sometimes display rules are more specific in prohibiting a particular facial expression only in a particular role or social situation. For example, at middle-class American weddings, the bride may publicly cry or look sad, as may her parents, but not the groom or his parents....
"Display rules need not absolutely forbid or demand showing a particular emotion, but may instead specify adjustments in the intensity of an emotion. For example, at funerals the mourners should adjust their own expressions of grief in relation to the grief of others. There seems to be a pecking order of legitimate claims to grief....
"We have been discussing the CULTURAL display rules - conventions about facial expression that are followed by all (non-rebellious) members of a given social class, subculture, or culture. Their role in social life is the first, most widely shared reason people control their facial expressions. The second reason is the role of PERSONAL display rules - habits that are the product of idiosyncrasies in family life.... A personal display rule may also be quite general; histrionic persons customarily over-intensify all emotional expression ....
".... A third reason for facial control is vocational requirement. Actors, obviously, must be skilled in managing their facial expressions. So must good diplomats, trial attorneys, salesmen, politicians, doctors, nurses, and perhaps even teachers....
"The fourth reason why people control their facial expressions is need of the moment.... The embezzler must falsely show surprise when the theft is discovered. The husband must inhibit the smile of pleasure on encountering his lover, if in the presence of his wife.
"Usually when a person is said to lie with his face or words, he lies to meet some need of the moment. But all four reasons for controlling facial expression can involve false messages or the omission of messages. It is just that society condemns lying more if it is done for personal gain.... Rather than calling the process lying, we might better call it message control, because the lie itself may convey a useful message." (pp. 138-139)
  maryoverton | Oct 9, 2012 |
Would recommend, a little dry at times , more a primer on how to understand expressions.
  gordon2112 | Dec 18, 2009 |
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