Emotions and faces: part of Executive Intelligence

Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, when discussing different Frontal Lobe, functions in his Wisdom Paradox book, adds that “Executive intelligence” includes “the ability to penetrate other people’s minds, and that starts with an interest in other people’s minds.”

What do we call a window into other people’s emotions? A face.

braintop Paul Ekman has conducted extensive research on identifying emotions through facial expressions. As part of that research, and as part of the power of discipline and training, he learned how to consciously manipulate 42 facial muscles, including many that in most of us are beyond our control, and even awareness.

Based on primary and secondary research, he found that there are seven emotions expressed in the face in universally consistent ways:
– Sadness
– Anger
– Surprise
– Fear
– Enjoyment
– Disgust
– Contempt

Even more interesting: according to his research, feelings and facial expressions influence each other. This is, not only a sad person will naturally look sad, but a person who intentionally smiles will feel more content than a person who doesn’t.

You can read his advice on how to recognize feelings in order to communicate better, focused on doctor-patient relationships but useful to everyone (including patients who may want to make sure to get their point across).

Why is this relevant for Frontal Lobe functions? well, as part of your decision-making, you may benefit from knowing whether someone is lying to you, and you can refine your guess based on 10 tips that can let you know if someone is lying to you.

Question: from left to right, top then down, what universal feeling does each face indicate?



  1. Pat said

    Anger Fear Surprise
    Contempt Enjoyment Sadness

  2. Alvaro said

    Very good, Pat!

    Anger Fear Surprise
    Contempt Enjoyment Sadness

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