The 7 universal Micro expressions

The 7 universal Micro expressions

Micro expressions are the real revelatory of our internal emotions, they are the natural result of a voluntary an involuntary emotional response. Micro-expressions was first discovered by Haggard and Isaacs in 1960s. Charles Darwin has been the first scientist to claim the existence of the facial expressions (not the micro expressions) and their similarities between the animals and humans in terms of communication.

Charles Darwin wrote a book about the facial expressions called “The expression of the emotions in man and animals,” published in 1872.

More recently and based on the work of Charles Darwin, Dr. Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen pushed the research to the next level by proving that micro-expressions are universal and are not determinate culturally. You can be Chinese, German, American or even from a tribe at the end of the world, the micro-expressions will be the same. 

Dr. Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen created the “Facial Action Coding System (F.A.C.S)” used today by all psychologists and researchers.

Based on the work of Dr. Paul Ekman, our face is able to create up to 10000 different micro expressions, don’t worry you don’t have to learn all of them, there are 7 universal micro-expressions as follow:

  • Fear
  • Happiness
  • Surprise
  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Contempt
  • Sadness

A micro-expression only lasts between 1/5 and 1/25 of seconds, which means that it takes a trained eye for decrypting it. Be sure is it possible to detect it with a little practice. It is tough, if not impossible, to pretend a micro-expression, which is why they are, so to speak, “reliable.”


Micro expressions and their meaning

It’s fascinating to be able to read all the information that we can see on within micro expressions. The face delivers plenty of information, you must be trained to know the difference between the real and the fake expressions to avoid any wrong interpretation.

Are micro expressions real or fakes? 

Micro-expressions give us two types of information, the ones that the liar wants to show and the ones he wants to conceal to us.

It’s important also to mention that some micro expressions are not directly from our emotions but they are here to support our verbal communication, we call them “conversational signals,” for example when you say something important, you tend to raise up your eyebrows. This is a type of signal made to call the attention of our interlocutor on what we are saying, somehow you are saying “be careful of what I’m telling now, it’s important.”

As you can see, reading micro-expressions is so rich that it deserves a proper training to avoid any misunderstanding or miss interpretation.

The master word here is to always make a baseline of your interlocutor before any interpretation of a micro-expression that you can spot on his face. If you didn’t study the baseline yet, please click on this link to read our article about “The baseline.”

If after all of that you still have any doubt of what you did see, always follow your intuition or repeat the micro expression yourself and check what you feel, is it good or bad feeling.

The difficulty is to read the difference between the real and the fake one, more precisely, to find the false micro-expressions that are made to support the lie giving it a fake truth.

Micro-expressions generally appear spontaneously because they are made from the limbic system (limbic brain), the centre of our emotions. It’s easy, you always feel an emotion before you express it.

If you want to learn more, you can first try our FREE test about Micro Expressions by following this link:

You can always claim your FREE eBook about Micro Expressions on our main page or by following this link:

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