7 Microexpressions that Give You Away

· November 6, 2015

Microexpressions are very fast, involuntary facial expressions that express an emotion we are feeling. They allow us to know what the people we are in contact with are feeling, as they are innate and universal. Learning to identify them will make your personal relationships easier, help you identify emotions and needs of your partner, friends, family, etc.

Further, by manipulating our body language, we can encourage ourselves toward the corresponding emotion. In other words, we have the incredible power to generate emotions through our expressions.

How many facial expressions are there?

Up to now, more than 10,000 different facial expressions have been catalogued, though only 7 basic microexpressions have been identified. These are the subtle, universal gestures that allow us to read emotions in the countenance of any person that we look at, and they form the foundation for the rest of our facial expressions.

Anger

The microexpression anger is mainly concentrated in the upper part of the face, where we lower and furrow our eyebrows into a scowl. We often tighten our mouth and make it tense, slightly separating our lips and clenching our teeth.

One gesture typical of anger consists in pushing the chin forward in a defiant way.

Fear

This microexpression is characterized by tense brows and wide-open eyes, allowing us to take in everything in our line of vision, as we are sensing danger somewhere.


In the lower part of the face, the jaw is loose, also constituting an instinctual behavior that allows us to yell and take in oxygen.

Happiness

Happiness is shown through squinted eyes and wrinkles in the outer extremities of the face and the lower eyelids. One trick: when a person fakes happiness, these wrinkles are not formed. We will also show our characteristic smile, which will be more open the happier we feel until we finally end up showing our teeth.

Disdain

In this expression, the upper part of the face can take on different shapes. The key to identifying this emotion is in the lower part of the face, for this is where we demonstrate a very particular expression which consists of raising one corner of the mouth, the other forming a half smile.

Through a study on this microexpression conducted by John Gottman, it is possible to know if a marriage will end in a divorce if we see that gestures of disdain are common among the two partners.

Surprise

It is characterized by raised, arched eyebrows with wide-open eyes. In the lower part of the face, the jaw is loose and the mouth open.

Sadness

This is one of the most complicated microexpressions to fake. It is characterized by lowered eyebrows that subtly join together in the center. The mouth is often arched downwards.

Disgust

This microexpression is one of the easiest to identify, as the entire expression is concentrated in the mouth and nose. The nose wrinkles and the upper lip is raised, often leaving the upper teeth visible. We also demonstrate this in personal relationships when we feel disapproval or when someone disgusts us.

I share with you a video as a summary so that you may turn to this extremely valuable and necessary training when it comes to enjoying satisfactory intra- and interpersonal relationships, and, most importantly, inner growth, both for you and for those around you.

Do you think you are able to detect each one of the 7 microexpressions? Put this to practice with loved ones whom you trust.