Polygons create a suspicious face

Six Face Expressions Everyone Can Read

The six basic face expressions all the world understands

Raised eyebrows or a shake of the head can mean different things in different parts of the world. But these six basic face expressions can be understood wherever you are.







The expressions may be mite exaggerated here. Even, heaven forbid, not totally accurate!

All the same, these ‘six basic facial expressions’ are taken from research by the anthropologist Paul Ekman.

There may be small inherited differences, but we all know the six basic face expressions. We can usually sense if someone is trying to fake them. The genuine versions are not under conscious control.


Body language – and in particular, ‘face language’, communicates more powerfully than words. Messages pass between us silently – and for the most part, we don’t even know they’re there.

Have you ever caught yourself smiling, frowning or even making gestures with your hands while you’re talking on the phone? Unless you’re on a video call, the person you’re talking to can’t see you, but you do it anyway. In fact it’s quite hard to talk with a completely expressionless face.

Hence the rise of emoticons for email and texting. :o) Like them or not, emoticons and smileys help to get a feeling across when words might be misunderstood.

Published by

Valerie Beeby

We used to say 'Seeing is believing'. Now it's more like 'Believing is seeing'. We see what we expect to see. Look again and who knows. Does it really match what's actually there? ...I've always been fascinated by how our minds work. As a writer and artist, I'm particularly interested in new research into how we perceive this extraordinary world we live in, where things are not always what they seem.

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