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MICRO EXPRESSIONS: Brief involuntary expressions first described as “micromomentary expressions” by Haggard and Isaacs.

Knowing how to identify these will give you an advantage when communicating, you can take action by knowing how people really feel based on these microexpressions.

*Paul Ekman created an Atlas of Emotions where we can dive into the states of 5 different emotions as listed on each Microexpression when applicable:



On the Atlas of Emotion we find the following:

  • Sensory Pleasure

  • Rejoicing

  • Compassion/Joy

  • Amusement

  • Schadenfreude (Enjoyment of the misfortunes of another person, usually a rival)

  • Relief

  • Pride

  • Fiero (An Italian word that describes the enjoyment felt when you have met a challenge that stretched your capabilities)

  • Naches (A Yiddish word for feelings of pride in the accomplishments, or sometimes just the existence, of your actual offspring or mentored offspring. Crucial for motivating the nurture of infants and children)

  • Wonder

  • Excitement

  • Ecstasy

Genuine happiness is very important to build camaraderie. Be very careful about "fake happiness" and what the message really means.



Imagine you ask someone:

"Did you already know about this?"

What the automatic microexpression to know if there is actual shock and amazement regarding the topic.



On the Atlas of Emotions the states of anger include:

  • Annoyance

  • Frustration

  • Exasperation

  • Argumentativeness

  • Bitterness

  • Vengefulness

  • Fury

When do we see this expression? Perhaps when you make a certain suggestion, name a price, etc. Are you prepared to address it and overcome it?



Frankly, now that we see the differences between fear and surprise... which would you rather see when you ask someone about a high impact or emotional topic? Could be about cheating, stealing, lying...

On the Atlas of Emotion we can identify:

  • Trepidation

  • Nervousness

  • Anxiety

  • Dread

  • Desperation

  • Panic

  • Horror

  • Terror



Based on Dr. John Gottman's research, he can predict in 5 minutes of seeing a couple interacting whether or not they will get divorced! When someone feels contempt for his or her partner, it usually means a lack of respect. It can involve “sarcasm, name-calling, eye-rolling”, contempt excels superiority and hatred. Is anyone surprised it can predict divorce?

Contempt reveals feeling of superiority amongst others.



Easy... just imagine something smells really bad! Our knows crinkles and our user lip rises.

On the Atlas of Emotion states of disgust include:

  • Dislike

  • Aversion

  • Distaste

  • Repugnance

  • Revulsion

  • Abhorrence

  • Loathing

Life scenario: You ask the party host if he liked the dessert you brought as a gift and while he nods "yes" with his head, he makes displays a disgust microexpression and then smiles. Will you believe him?

When we ask preference based questions disgust will be visible as a negative answer and even deception.

* Our sense of TRUST is highly linked to disgust. It’s how we've verbally made moral judgment labels, such as; slimy, sleazy, rotten, miscreant, bad, lowlife, scum, scalawag, deserter, seedy, filthy, hoarder, shoddy, dirty, etc.



According to behavioral investigator from Science of People, Vanessa Van Edwards, this is the hardest expression to fake. Try to be empathetic when detected!

On the Atlas of Emotion we find the following:

  • Disappointment

  • Discouragement

  • Distraughtness

  • Resignation

  • Helplessness

  • Hopelessness

  • Misery

  • Dispair

  • Grief

  • Sorrow

  • Anguish


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