30 Inspirational Paul Ekman Quotes on Life

Birthday: February 15, 1934, Washington, DC, USA


Paul Ekman is an American psychologist who is a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions.


He has created an "Atlas of Emotions" with more than ten thousand facial expressions, and has gained a reputation as the best human lie detector in the world.


He is also the author of world famous books such as "Moving Toward Global Compassion", "Nonverbal Message", "Emotional Awareness", "Emotions Revealed" and "Telling Lies".


I would like to share with you today; 30 Inspirational Paul Ekman Quotes on Life.


“It is easy to conceal an emotion no longer felt, much harder to conceal an emotion felt at the moment, especially if the feeling is strong. Terror is harder to conceal than worry, just as rage is harder to conceal than annoyance. The stronger the emotion, the more likely it is that some sign of it will leak despite the liar's best attempt to conceal it.” /Paul Ekman
“Believing-a-lie mistakes occur because certain people just don’t make mistakes when they lie. These are not just psychopaths but also natural liars, people who are using the Stanislavski technique, and those who by other means succeed in coming to believe their own lies. The lie catcher must remember that the absence of a sign of deceit is not evidence of truth.” /Paul Ekman
“Emotions change how we see the world and how we interpret the actions of others. We do not seek to challenge why we are feeling a particular emotion; instead, we seek to confirm it.” /Paul Ekman
“This distinction between believing-a-lie and disbelieving-the-truth is important because it forces attention to the twin dangers for the lie catcher. There is no way to avoid completely both mistakes; the choice only is between which one to risk more. The lie catcher must evaluate when it is preferable to risk being misled, and when it would be better to risk making a false accusation.” /Paul Ekman
“Emotions can override…the more powerful fundamental motives that drive our lives: hunger, sex, and the will to survive. People will not eat if they think the only food available is disgusting. They may even die, although other people might consider that same food palatable. Emotion triumphs over the hunger drive! A person may never attempt sexual contact because of the interference of fear or disgust, or may never be able to complete a sexual act. Emotion triumphs over the sex drive! And despair can overwhelm even the will to live, motivating a suicide. Emotions triumph over the will to live!” /Paul Ekman

“People feel less guilty about lying to those they think are wrongdoers. A philanderer whose marital partner is cold and unwilling in bed might not feel guilty in lying about an affair.” /Paul Ekman
“When they were, in fact, lying. They were taken in by the false expressions and ignored the expressions that leaked the true feelings. When people lie, their most evident, easy-to-see expressions, which people pay most attention to, are often the false ones. The subtle signs” /Paul Ekman
“Consider having as a friend, co-worker, or lover a person who in terms of emotional control and disguise was like a three-month-old infant, yet in all other respects—intelligence, skills, and so on—was fully able as any adult. It is a painful prospect.” /Paul Ekman
“Smiles are probably the most underrated facial expressions, much more complicated than most people realize. There are dozens of smiles, each differing in appearance and in the message expressed.” /Paul Ekman
“Most often lies fail because some sign of an emotion being concealed leaks. The stronger the emotions involved in the lie, and the greater the number of different emotions, the more likely it is that the lie will be betrayed by some form of behavioral leakage.” /Paul Ekman

“In some instances, you may care so much about the person who has hurt you, or be so unable to be angry with him (or with anyone), that you rationalize his hurtful acts by finding some basis in your own actions for his hurtful behavior; you then feel guilty rather than angry. Put in other terms, you become angry with yourself rather than with the one who hurt you.” /Paul Ekman
“Public opinion polls time and again show that honesty is among the top five characteristics people want in a leader, friend, or lover.” /Paul Ekman
“The unhappy person is expected to conceal negative feelings, putting on a polite smile to accompany the “Just fine, thank you, and how are you?” reply to the “How are you today?” The true feelings will probably go undetected, not because the smile is such a good mask but because in polite exchanges people rarely care how the other person actually feels.” /Paul Ekman
“Lying is such a central characteristic of life that better understanding of it is relevant to almost all human affairs.” /Paul Ekman
“Misinterpreting is not the only route by which someone may believe his or her false account is true.” /Paul Ekman

“The failure to remember is not a lie, although liars will often try to excuse their lies, once discovered, by claiming a memory failure. It is not uncommon to forget actions that one regrets, but if the forgetting truly has occurred, we should not consider that a lie. for there was no choice involved. Often it will not be possible to determine whether a memory failure has occurred or whether its invocation is itself a lie.” /Paul Ekman
“Can you tell when a politician is lying? When he moves his lips!” /Paul Ekman
“It is hard not to reciprocate a smile; people do so even if the smile they reciprocate is one shown in a photograph. People enjoy looking at most smiles, a fact well known to advertisers.” /Paul Ekman
“People do misinterpret events, especially the meaning of other people’s actions and the motives that lead people to act one way or another.” /Paul Ekman
“No discussion of facial signs of deceit would be complete without considering one of the most frequent of all the facial expressions—smiles. They are unique among the facial expressions. It takes but one muscle to show enjoyment, while most of the other emotions require the action of three to five muscles.” /Paul Ekman

“Not everyone is able to lie or is willing to do so.”
“Suspicious people should be terrible lie catchers, prone to disbelieving-the-truth” /Paul Ekman
“When the behavior changes occur in relation to a specific topic or question, that tells the lie catcher this could be a hot area to explore.” /Paul Ekman
“In modern industrial societies the situation is nearly the reverse. The opportunities for lying are plentiful; privacy is easy to achieve, there are many closed doors. When caught, the social consequences need not be disastrous, for one can change jobs, change spouses, change villages. A damaged reputation need not follow you. By this reasoning we live now in circumstances that encourage rather than discourage lying; evidence and activity are more easily concealed, and the need to rely upon demeanor to make our judgments is greater. And we have not been prepared by our evolutionary history to be very sensitive to the behavioral clues relevant to lying.” /Paul Ekman
“Sometimes one is better off misled. The host may be better off thinking the guest enjoyed himself; the wife happier believing that she can tell a joke well. The liar’s false message may not only be more palatable, it may also be more useful than the truth. The carpenter’s false claim “I’m fine” to his boss’s “How are you today?” may provide information more relevant than would his true reply, “I am still feel terrible from the fight I had at home last night.” His lie truthfully tells his intention to perform his job despite personal upset. There is, of course, a cost for being misled even in these benevolent instances.” /Paul Ekman


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