The Universality Of Emotional Expressions with Dr. Paul Ekman

How we recognize each other as humans have a lot to do with what we see physically. When it comes to showing emotions, we rely so much on facial expressions. Dr. Paul Ekman, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco and the world’s deception detection expert, goes deep into universal expressions. Contrary to the belief that every culture has unique expressions, Dr. Ekman goes against the grain and points to the universal expressions we all share. Also a co-discoverer of micro-expressions and the inspiration behind the hit television series, Lie to Me, he dives into the whole idea of how we perceive other people, taking it on from the biological side, the mental side, and even cultural. Discover more how our emotional systems are shown in our facial expressions and how we can use it to tell whether to trust someone or not.

TTL 550 | Universal Expressions


I’m so glad you joined us because we have Dr. Paul Ekman here. I’m so excited to talk to him. He is a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. He was voted as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine. He is one of the most influential psychologists of all times.

Listen to the podcast here

The Universality Of Emotional Expressions with Dr. Paul Ekman

I am here with Dr. Paul Ekman, who’s a Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the world’s deception detection expert, co-discoverer of micro-expressions, and the inspiration behind the television series, Lie to Me. He’s a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine. He’s also ranked fifteenth among the most influential psychologists of the 21st century. That’s quite a bio you have, Dr. Ekman. Thank you for being here.

It’s a pleasure.

This is right up to the alley of the things that I’m interested in. I gave a bit of background, but can you tell a little bit more about how you got interested in psychology? Who most influenced you to get to where you are?

It was largely ignored when I was in college and graduate school. That was one of the reasons. It meant that there was an opportunity to be a pioneer. I wouldn’t be saddled with having to read a lot of past works since there wasn’t a lot of past work. I’ve always been visually-oriented. I entertained and had an early career as a photographer, photographing people’s faces. That led directly into what I did in my science. Once you do science with a camera, the camera part becomes very dull. It becomes a fixed recorder and not something that you use creatively.

You were talking about how you can either verify what other people have done or started out and look for brand new research. I understand that would be so much more fascinating. You say you got kicked out of a high school, but you ended up with this high level of achievement. How did you manage to get kicked out of high school?

It was when I asked my teacher, either ninth or tenth grade, what novels are we going to read this year. She announced them and I said, “Why is there no Faulkner or Hemingway?” She said, “Because I’m the teacher.” I said, “Why did we finish fighting a war against Hitler to have a dictator in a homeroom?” It got me right out of high school.

I like that you were curious though. You had that natural sense of wanting to learn something. What did you end up writing your dissertation topic on?

It’s capital punishment. I did my dissertation from beginning to end, including the write-up, in three weeks because I was already interested in expression. My research adviser said, “It’s going to take you years to figure out how to deal with expression. Why don’t you do a dissertation on something easy, that you can get out of the way?” He suggested a topic and that’s what I did. I never published my dissertation. It’s not something I’m ever proud of, but it got me the degree. That was the purpose.

You talk about and write about so many things that have become famous due to the television show Lie to Me and other areas of your research. The list of references on your page and the 50 years of research is super impressive. You’re known for saying that we have these universal expressions. I want to talk about them because a lot of people might have seen the show Lie to Me or have heard of your work through other means. What are these universal expressions? How did you determine what they were?

When I started this research, the dominant view is Margaret Mead, who became a real antagonist of mine, that expression is varied from one culture to another. That was strictly conjectured on her part because Margaret never worked in different cultures. She wrote about them. She visited them, but she never lived for even two months in another culture. By a series of accidents, I got funded to do overseas research. The only tag on the funding was that I couldn’t subcontract. I have to do it myself and at least half of my time had to be spent out of the country. I traveled and worked in eighteen countries around the world. I didn’t care what I would find, whether it would be that expressions differed or if they were the same. I wanted to settle the question one way or the other.

What I found was that they were the same. That was, at that time, a very unpopular view. The popular view is that anything important varied from culture to culture. The biological basis of social behavior was not only totally ignored, but it was thought to be Nazi sympathetic. The Nazis had preached the line that biology is important, but they preached the line that only the biology of a preferred race, that one race was superior to another. I was finding that everyone has the same. It was a challenge to the Nazi viewpoint.

My father was born legally blind and I had read that even blind people have the same expressions.

[bctt tweet=”If someone is deliberately trying to mislead you, it’s no simple matter to be able to discern it.” via=”no”]

You don’t learn them by seeing them. What happens with blind people, because they get no visual feedback, is they develop often some strange facial mannerisms. If they’re angry or they’re afraid or they’re sad, you’d see the same expressions on their face. That was one of the crucial studies that I can now no longer remember whether I did it or I simply read the studies of others and wrote about it. It was one of the important sources.

When I was watching, they would put blind people in front of people having certain expressions and they would react even if they couldn’t see them. They had a sense of something. The whole perception idea of how we perceive other people, how did you find that varied by all eighteen countries you lived in? Do people perceive each other in different ways based on their culture? Is this something that’s biological?

It’s your attitude about what you see that varies, that you’ve learned in the course of growing up. You’ve also learned what expressions you’re not supposed to show. “Wipe that expression off your face. Don’t look like that at your mother.” Every culture, we teach our children to censor certain expressions in particular situations. It’s usually expressions that adults don’t want to see or regard as rebellious that are censored. Sometimes people will learn to inhibit expressions to such extent that it becomes a habit that they can no longer choose not to do. That doesn’t occur usually, but it can occur sometimes for some people.

Is this what you taught at the University of California? Was this the course on this? What did you teach there?

I taught almost nothing there. There was a program at the National Institute of Health to rescue scientists from administration and teaching. It was a five-year award called the Career Award that bought your contract from the university so you could do full-time research. You couldn’t be asked to serve on committees or to teach anything other than your own work. It was competitive, nationally. I got it renewed seven times. For 35 years, whenever I got asked to sit on a committee, I’d say, “Honored as I am by this request, the terms of my award do not allow me to accept it.” I never served on committees and I did full-time research because of having this Career Award. 35 years is a long time. It’s a good piece of a career, particularly in the early period. I had it from about 28. For the next 35 years, most of my formal research career, I had this Career Award that freed me from committee assignments and from teaching anything about my own findings.

You’ve researched why patients who claim they were not depressed later committed suicide. You’ve done training workshops for TSA, CIA and FBI. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done? What excited you the most?

I didn’t do anything that didn’t excite me. If it didn’t excite me, why bother doing it? I had the freedom because of this Career Award because it kept getting renewed. After I had it renewed three or four times and had it for several years, I knew that they had a vested interest in me, that the government wanted to show that what they were investing in had paid off. It wasn’t that I got lazy, but I knew that I could do increasingly outrageous work and still get it renewed. That’s what I chose to do. I wanted to do things that would make people surprised. I’ve always thought there are two kinds of research. There’s confirmation research, where you’re setting out to prove something that you’re certain is true. There’s discovery research, where you don’t know what’s true and you’re trying to find out. It’s discovery research that’s the riskiest, but it’s what I have done most of.

You’ve come up with so much that no one else had even touched on. I’m wondering how you got the attention of some people. Dalai Lama had you work on secular training programs. You’ve done so many different areas. What was that like to work with that group?

That was because of my daughter who had attended a workshop with the Dalai Lama that he ran for high school students, which she was a high school student. I got invited to Dharamshala, India to be part of a five-person group to meet with him for a week. I would have turned it down. It seemed to me like a lot of effort, except you got to bring a silent observer. I thought this would be a real kick for my daughter, so I accepted it. For reasons I can’t explain, the Dalai Lama has an explanation that I don’t completely accept. We hit it off as if we’d known each other all our lives. He believed that in past incarnations, we were brothers. I don’t believe in reincarnation. He’s amused by the fact that he can explain it and I can’t. He has a very playful mind. I spent more time in one-on-one conversations with him than with anyone else in the world. We spent about 50 hours, not all at once but over time, in one-on-one intense, playful conversations, trying to see where it would lead, often changing sides. We would each argue one side and switch and argue the other side. We were involved personally in what the outcome was, we were just intrigued by seeing if we could come up with answers to something that there wasn’t an answer for up until then intrigued us.

That would be helpful for people to develop empathy, if more people could do that, to look at more than one side of the equation, don’t you think?

I’ve used that as an exercise where I’ve taught. You have to let two people disagree. They each have to present the other person’s point of view to them in a way that they say, “You’ve got it completely correct.” It usually takes someone four or five attempts to get it. You can be certain if they completely understand the view of the other person. It’s something that I learned from the Quakers, who have used that to deal with disagreement for a long time. It’s a useful exercise for what I call respect focus agreement.

That’s almost like paraphrasing. You know how students love to copy and paste and cite that in direct quotes in class. I often have my students make them paraphrase to even demonstrate that they’ve digested the information. Do you think that’s helpful for listening? Did you find that it’s a good listening exercise when you have to figure out how to put this in someone else’s perspective?

TTL 550 | Universal Expressions
Universal Expressions: You have to let two people disagree. They each have to present the other person’s point of view to completely understand each other.


You don’t get it at all at once. You have to do it in successive approximations.

As we talk about your universal expressions, we should probably list how many they are and what they are for those who aren’t familiar. Could you explain what you found were the expressions?

They’re anger, fear, enjoyment, disgust, surprise and anguish, which has two sides to it, anguish and sadness. It’s one emotion but it has two facets. That’s seven. I wish there were more, but there weren’t. At least five of those you can see in other primates. They’re not unique to humans.

Which ones are those?

They’re anger, fear, anguish and enjoyment.

Did they have disgust and surprise as well in primates?

Disgust and surprise are not as certain. I think so but the evidence isn’t as good.

You were more interested in facial expressions and body movements and hand gestures.

I started out with body movement and gestures, but my contact with Silvan Tomkins, who showed me the amount of extraordinary information you can get from someone’s face. He convinced me to look at the face. I knew the face was important, but it seems like it would be impossible to be able to get an objective system for measuring it. My coworker, Wally Friesen, it took the two of us six or seven years to develop a systematic reliable tool for measuring facial movement. The face is very complicated. A typical facial expression involves two to four movements, contractions of muscles, simultaneously. We studied up to six. It’s rare to see six, but not rare to see four movements appear on the face the same instance of time. It’s our most complex signal system. It serves another purpose. It’s also our identity system.

Many other primates rely on smell to identify one member from another. We don’t. In fact, we do what we can to disguise smell. We rely on the appearance of the face and tell one person from another. That’s interesting also because you could tell kinship from the face. People who come from the same region, where there’s been a lot of intermarriages. They look a little more alike. “You look like you’re from the Northern part of Norway.” Indeed they are. They have that particular Norwegian look or that Sicilian look on their face. It tells a little bit about kinship, but it’s primarily an identity signal system, who you are, one from another and an emotion signal system. Unless you put on a mask, your face reveals how you feel.

I’m half Sicilian, so I’m curious what a Sicilian look is.

It’s not something I can easily describe in words.

[bctt tweet=”Sociopaths and psychopaths are rather poor liars.” via=”no”]

I’m fascinated by how this all works in terms of we can use it for good reasons. You were worried that it would be used for bad uses, potentially, maybe with juries and maybe coming up with inclusive opinions on things. You also had not initially wanted to be behind the show Lie to Me. They had to work a little bit to get you into that. Do you want to talk about the potential negative uses first? Then we’ll go into what we could hope it’d be used for.

The thing that worried me about Lie to Me is that by watching a program like that, people would think they could tell with a lot of confidence when someone is being truthful or not. They would then misjudge somebody in a situation where they were sitting on a jury. If someone is deliberately trying to mislead you, it’s no simple matter to be able to discern it. It takes about 30 hours to train people to do a lot better than chance. It’s not easy to detect whether someone is trying to mislead you about how they feel. It’s possible. We can get most people up to about 90% accuracy in making that judgment for that. It means they’re not able to do so for 10% of the people. It’s not an easy skill to acquire and it never gets perfect. There are some people that are natural liars. I don’t know what to call them. There are some people that you just can’t tell.

Sociopaths? Where do they fall?

It turns out that sociopaths and psychopaths are rather poor liars. We believe them because they’re attractive to people and not because they’re great liars. They lie quite often without much regret about it. That’s what distinguishes them, but they’re not good about it. We find it easy to spot them. About 5% to 8% of a random sample of people will turn out to be extremely adept at concealing how they feel and misleading you about that. They tend to go into professions that capitalize on it, in particular, sales. There are great salesmen that our research turned out to be capable of. I’m not saying that they do lie more often than others, but when they do, it’s hard to catch them.

I know what you are saying and I think that there’s so much that we want to know and some things we don’t want to know. I want to get into that. I thought I saw that age and wrinkles and certain things could affect how well we can tell. Also, my husband’s a plastic surgeon, so I imagine that Botox and some of that has to have some impact.

The problem though with Botox is that it inhibits all expression. People who’ve had Botox are less appealing to others because we are attracted to expressive faces. It’s a nice trade-off. With Botox, you don’t age as much. We’re more attracted to younger looking faces. You’re not appealing as much because we’re more attracted to expressive faces. Do you want to be unexpressive but young looking or expressive but look your age? You got to make a choice. You can’t get both.

As we age, the wrinkles hide whether you’re able to determine if we’re lying though.

Permanent wrinkles will largely disappear when the facial muscles contract.

I was looking at the Lie to Me show. I was into that when it was out. It’s so unique. I liked Tim Roth. He’s a good actor. He takes apart different expressions throughout the show and says what it means. They threw some pictures up on the screen. They’d show some politicians. You say you don’t make any comments about people running for office, but they’re a fair game afterward. Can you give us some examples when you could tell someone was lying? I saw you say about Clinton with not having sex with that woman was one.

That was an easy one. He used distancy language for talking about someone who he was very close to. We knew he was very close to her. Being very close to someone doesn’t mean you’re having sexual relations with her, but that was indeed the case. It’s an odd form of sexual relations. Clinton was a sexually attractive person, so appealing that we wanted to believe him. We like him so much. There are some people whose manner is so likable. If the expression is to get away with murder, they can’t get away with the murder itself. They get away with an awful lot because we want to believe them because they’re so likable. There are some people who have a disadvantage of being so unlikeable that we disbelieve them even when they’re being truthful.

That’s challenging in the business world. We have to deal with so many different personalities. Do you deal with talking to people about how they can get along better in the workplace, based on reading faces and dealing with what we think we don’t like because it’s different in our culture?

I haven’t done that at all for two reasons. One is, I’m not in the business world myself. I don’t have a lot of experience to draw upon. The second reason is, I’ve chosen to spend my time dealing with law enforcement and national security personnel rather than people in the business world. I don’t have time to do everything and also do my own research. Everything I’ve learned has been at the public expense. It’s been all funded by NIH or NSF. I thought I should apply it not to help a particular business, but to help public agencies. I’ve worked with all the three letter agencies in the federal government.

TTL 550 | Universal Expressions
Universal Expressions: Thoughts have no signal. We can tell when someone is thinking, but we can’t tell what they’re thinking about.


You say there are honorable reasons for lying. We want to know all the reasons that people lie. It’s going to be challenging to be married to somebody who can tell every time you’re lying. Is that a challenge for people, assuming you can tell everything that they’re thinking?

I always try to convince them that it’s not true. For one thing, thoughts have no signal. I can tell you’re thinking, but I can’t tell what you’re thinking about. It’s only emotions that have a signal. I can tell how you’re feeling, but I can’t tell what triggered the feeling. Emotions don’t reveal their trigger. In that sense, you’re safe.

We have to ask questions to find out the trigger then.

I may not answer it truthfully and then you will know.

You’ll know they’re lying if that’s the case. We’ll never get back to the end of what the initial problem is unless we have good communication. What do you feel spotting micro expressions do for us, just day in and day out life? You’ve done these seminars to teach all this. Your daughter’s name is Dr. Eve Ekman. You do training or have done Cultivating Emotional Balance. Who would most benefit from going through that?

The Cultivating Emotional Balance that we’ve taught was developed to help people better understand their own emotions and the emotions of others. There’s little focus on being able to spot concealed emotions. We do have a course for that. My daughter and I only have offered it to law enforcement and national security. I haven’t offered it in the corporate world. There are people who have studied my work who do. I don’t know if they do a good job or a bad job. I myself don’t do it. It’s not because I’m antagonistic, but I have limited where I want to spend my time and how much time I have, particularly as I get older. I’ve chosen to spend it in a way that will have the most public benefit.

What are you working on right now?

It’s not much. I’m trying to take the research that I did in New Guinea and get that published in some publishable form. There aren’t any cultures left in the world anymore that haven’t been touched by the media. I’ve got quite a lot of information and photographs and film on this culture when it was visually isolated. I’m trying to find a place that would want to publish it. I haven’t had any success so far but it’s through text and film would be interesting to most people to see. I haven’t been able to find anybody who wants to publish it.

When you were there, where did you sleep and how did you stay there?

I was enormously interesting to these people. I’m showing them a flashlight. These are people who are still using stone implements. They were using stone axes. They had no metal of any kind. Any of my gadgets were amazing to them. They built me a grass house and that’s where I lived. The nice thing about it the grass house is if three or four people work on it, you can build it in a couple of hours. Wherever you go, they can build you a grass house. That’s where I would sleep in.

How long were you there?

I was there two to three months, two years in a row.

[bctt tweet=”People who’ve had Botox are less appealing to others because we are attracted to expressive faces.” via=”no”]

Were you married and you had a family at home while this was going on?

I was single. That made it easier. Eventually, you would get to the point where you would feel like you want somebody that you can talk to. You want some intimate contact with someone. It wasn’t possible there. When that got stronger, I thought I’d go home and come back another time.

What was the language there? Do they speak English?

There were two boys who had been to a missionary school and they had learned Pidgin. It is a Lingua Franca spoken throughout Southeast Asia. It’s native. It’s not a written language. I have learned some Pidgin. We’d go from English to Pidgin and they would go from Pidgin to their own language. I had two young adolescent boys who were my translators.

It’s got to be hard to get that research. That takes real dedication. Was there a time where you thought, “I can’t do this. I’m in a grass hut in New Guinea?” Were you thinking, “This is just my dream?”

I realized it was once in a lifetime opportunity. In ten years, it wouldn’t be there anymore. There wouldn’t be a culture that hadn’t been saturated with television, in particular. I knew this was a rare opportunity. I was eager to seize it.

Which of your research do you think got TIME Magazine’s most attention? What are you most known for?

I’m most known for the deception research, but the most important research I did was on the universality of emotional expression.

Did you deal with gestures as well? You said there are about 80 gestures in the world.

I dealt with gestures also. For the most part, not all, the overwhelming majority of gestures are culture-specific. It’s a socially learned language. They differ from place to place. That makes them interesting, but it also makes them, in some sense, less important.

You had said that the most common is the headshake, yes and no. If somebody is lying, sometimes they’ll say yes while shaking their head no.

A little bit, but even that is not universal. In Turkey, it doesn’t mean the same. It’s the opposite. There are no universal gestures, other than some vague hand movement to indicate that you want people to come closer or to stay away. Apart from that, gestures are socially learned and culturally variable, unlike facial expressions.

TTL 550 | Universal Expressions
Universal Expressions: Intimacy cannot proceed without trust. Trust cannot occur if you’re doubtful about whether you might be being misled.


You’ve dealt with a lot of court-based case. You’ve worked on a famous embezzling case. It was big before Madoff had become famous. Can you tell a little bit about that?

I tried to get to interview him. I couldn’t get permission from his lawyer.

What was his name?

It’s Bernie Madoff. They were unwilling to let me talk to him directly. I wanted to know in particular how he viewed what had happened to those who have been closest to him, particularly his wife who suffered quite a lot. He got caught. Did he have any regrets about it? I’d never got to the chance. I was not allowed to talk to him by his attorneys. I don’t know why, but they wouldn’t approve of it.

Who was the person who was accused? There are people in a bunch of banks he was embezzling. The banks would have been culpable. They asked him, “Did you steal the money?” He shakes his head no while saying yes. Wasn’t there a famous case that you worked on? I’m trying to look and see if I could flip back.

There was, but I don’t remember the name of it.

It’s interesting to see what support somebody like you, who’s an expert, could lend to a trial. Did you do as much as they did in Lie to Me, where he’s the expert and you’re on the stand and you’re doing all that? Was that Hollywood?

That’s Hollywood. In the courtroom, no experts on truthfulness are allowed. The finder, in fact, must be the jury. No expert can testify in an American courtroom about who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. What you at most could do is talk about what are some of the signs to pay attention to that might be helpful. I have done little of that. It’s better for me to stay out of the courtroom and let the process go forward as it does. I’ve instead spent my time working with the police and working with national security.

My friends said to me, “Why are you helping the police?” In a city like San Francisco, there’s a lot of anti-police sentiments. I said, “Do you want them to make more mistakes? Do you want them to put more innocent people in jail or guilty people go free?” It’s in our public interest for them to do a better job and they want to do a better job. If I could help them, I will. I don’t want them to rely too much on what I have to say because I don’t have enough evidence in a criminal situation. I haven’t done research on criminal situations. It applies, but I can’t be certain. I was very cautious and didn’t make any claims. Take it for what it’s worth. It may be worth nothing.

I’m wondering if you found that certain cultures care more about truthfulness than others as you’ve traveled around the world. Are we more focused on it or less focused on it than other countries? Almost like salespeople, it’s okay. Do you know it to be that or not?

I haven’t investigated that. The attitudes are likely to be similar. We have different standards for what we expect from people who we’re intimate with than for strangers or people we deal with in a more professional or business setting. Intimacy cannot proceed without trust. Trust cannot occur if you’re doubtful about whether you might be being misled. Trust is a sacred, important requirement for intimacy. Think about who is it that you trust. Who is it that you would tell something that you’re a bit ashamed about? There aren’t many people like that. The difference between what you would like to be publicly known and what you would trust with your best friend. I believe you’d probably trust your best friend more than your spouse with certain information but that depends on the relationship you’re having with your best friend and with your spouse.

If we’re trying to build trust in a business setting and I know you said you didn’t research business, but I’m trying to extrapolate some of these for people who want to build trust. Do you have any suggestions on what’s worked to build trust?

[bctt tweet=”If you have a lot of distrust, you’re a very lonely person.” via=”no”]

I would expect exposure that is revealing things about yourself.

Being vulnerable, do you think, to some extent?

That’ll invite reciprocation. That will take you towards establishing trust. Trust is not an easy thing to establish. With some people, this trust is a default. If you have a lot of distrust, you’re a very lonely person. Do you think you can have a strong friendship with someone you don’t trust?

You’re guilty until proven innocent, in other words.

Your closest friends are people that you trust. Your closest friends are people that you could tell things that you’re ashamed of. I wish I hadn’t done that. I wish I hadn’t said that I did. Who are they going to say that too?

A lot of this is very fascinating to all groups and all ages. You were consulted for Inside Out, the Disney movie, where they talked about the different characters. How was that experience?

It’s a lot of fun. The guy I worked with, he was a very interesting guy and had a very playful mind. We had a good time together. It was entertainment so you could stretch things a bit.

Did you get to meet Lewis Black, the one that did Anger? He’s the actor behind the Anger voice.

I can’t remember.

He’s a funny comedian. I was wondering if you got to meet the people who did the voices behind each of the different expressions.

I don’t think I did.

I’m curious if you would do it again. A lot of people ask you if you could go back and do it again. Was this something that you think has been useful? Are there any regrets about anything that you found or discovered?

No, not really. I wish I had more time to do more research and to make more discoveries. In the areas that I worked, I pretty much found out what I was trying to find out. I’d have to start in different research topics. I’m too late in my life to do that.

You’ve done some amazing stuff. You’re fascinated by the idea from the book The Picture of Dorian Gray. That was what my dad was always telling me as a child. It’s a book that sticks with you. If you can tell from somebody’s face of what has happened, I could see why this has been such a great area of research for you. Is your daughter carrying the torch? Is anyone else in your family interested in the same thing?

No, and I have tried very much. I would be delighted if they did, but I don’t want them to feel any obligation. I want them to pursue what they want to pursue. My daughter and I have occasionally co-taught about emotions, but she has a different set of interests that I respect and are worthwhile. It’s important that she have a reputation independent of me. She’s gained that. She has become a bit of a guru. I don’t think I’m regarded as a guru. She has a guru-like following and she gives public talks. I’ve tried over the years. They’re fun to listen to. She speaks well in an interesting language. She speaks about things that I would never speak about. It’s not that they’re unspeakable, it’s just I don’t know about them.

You know a lot about more than most people. You have a wealth of research. It’s amazing what you’ve done to shed light on something that is so important. I was honored that you agreed to be on the show. I’m fascinated by everything you did. I appreciated it. Do you have any websites or anything that you’d like to share? Can they go to your main website? I’m curious about how people could reach you.

The website is the best way. It’s It’s easy to find. There’s lots of stuff there that they can download and use and read about. There are some tools there that are usable. That’s the best source on anything new that I come up with. There’s too likely that I’m going to come up with much new at this point in my life. If I did, it would appear on my website. That’s the place to go.

You’ve done an amazing body of work. It’s been such an honor to have you on the show. Thank you so much, Dr. Ekman. I appreciate the conversation.

When you’re asked uninteresting questions, it’s painful. You’ve asked good questions, it’s been enjoyable.

Thank you. I appreciate that.

I’d like to thank Dr. Ekman for being my guest. We get so many great guests on the show. I get to interview people like Dr. Ekman and Dr. Bandura and Dr. Goleman and the list goes on and on of some of the most influential people who’ve changed the face of psychology, but also, it’s important to the world of business. I’m very interested in behaviors and that led to my research in curiosity and perception and some of the areas that I’ve studied like emotional intelligence and all that. There’s so much that we can learn from looking into some of the different research that’s not necessarily just within the business realm.

I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Dr. Ekman. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can go to Some of those people I mentioned are on those past episodes. You can find them there. If you’re looking for information about Cracking the Curiosity Code, you can go to That’s where you can take the Curiosity Code Index or become trained to be certified to give the Curiosity Code Index as well. I hope you enjoyed the show. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.

Important Links:

About Dr. Paul Ekman

TTL 550 | Universal ExpressionsDr. Paul Ekman is a Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the world’s deception detection expert, co-discoverer of micro-expressions, and the inspiration behind the hit series, Lie to Me. He is a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine and ranked fifteenth among the most influential psychologists of the 21st century.


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