A facial expression is one or more motions or positions of the muscles in the skin. These movements convey the emotional state of the individual to observers. Facial expressions are a form of nonverbal communication. They are a primary means of conveying social information among humans.
Are facial expressions universal? In the 1870s, Charles Darwin hypothesized that facial expressions are universal - that we're born with the ability to make certain expressions for certain feelings - received criticism due to a lack of evidence, and few supporting studies on the universality of facial expression were conducted until the 1960s. That's when researchers found that certain looks are indeed universal.
Psychologist Paul Ekman, widely considered the great innovator in the study of facial expressions, determined that there is a series of common expressions that is universally recognized. His initial studies concluded that expressions of anger, fear, happiness, sadness, disgust and surprise are evident to people regardless of cultural upbringing, and seemed to close the door on the debate surrounding the topic.In the decades since his initial research, additional emotions, such as contempt, have been added to those deemed universal, and later studies show that even spontaneous facial expressions will be universally recognized.
The neutral expression is the baseline. The other expressions are going to be variations on this neutral expression.
The key to this expression is how the inner eyebrows come together and down simultaneously. This can also be accompanied by an open mouth, widened eyes, or flared nostrils.
The keys here are the raised eyebrows, raised eyelids, and the slight opening of the mouth combined with the lip edges being stretch back in a horizontal direction.
There are the raised outer lips, the muscles that surround the eye socket contract. The space between the outer eyebrow and the eye lid gets smaller when the muscle contracts.
The two key features are the raising of the inner eyebrows and pulling down of outer lips.
The two key features of this expression are the nose wrinkling and the upper lip pulled up and away, baring the canine teeth. This is like an animal’s snarl.
This is similar to fear except the jaw just drops. The eyebrows are still raised and so are the eye lids. The key is the lack of the lips being pulled back.
The key to this expression is that it is the only expression that naturally occurs on only one side of the face. The key is one side of the face pulling the upper lip up and away.
How many facial expressions are there?There is an infinite number of facial expressions.We sometimes see scientific studies saying that there are eight, eleven, fifteen, ... No! You can't count them, nor can you count your feelings.Do you have the same face every time you are happy? No! You have as many happy faces as there are happy events.Your reactions and emotions are different, so you express them differently.Just think of all the happy faces you can make.
How expressive should your face be?It should be like a blank screen, not one with a faded image already on it.All those folds on your face prevent you from expressing your feelings accurately and satisfyingly. Your facial muscles are slowly reduced to immobility.On a groomed face, emotions appear with more precision and subtleness, unhindered by any previous folding.Your face becomes such a mirror of your thoughts that everyone knows how you feel.