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Unmasking the Face: A Guide to Recognizing Emotions From Facial Expressions Paperback – September 1, 2003


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Unmasking the Face: A Guide to Recognizing Emotions From Facial Expressions + Emotions Revealed, Second Edition: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life + Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Malor Books (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883536367
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883536367
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

338 of 341 people found the following review helpful By D on July 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
Ekman is a leading authority on the study of the facial expressions and their relation to emotion, and this book is a methodical and thorough introduction to the field, with special focus on recognizing what he calls the six basic universally expressed emotions: happiness, fear, anger, surprise, disgust/contempt, and sadness.

Ekman provides clear, well-detailed instructions for recognizing each of these emotions, and the book includes plenty of photos to illustrate the different facial contortions of each emotion. The only complaint I have is that I had to do a lot of page flipping back and forth to read Ekman's remarks and subsequently refer to the relevant picture. Perhaps a future edition could be better formatted to make it easier for the reader to view the expression alongside Ekman's comments.

In addition to writing about specific emotions, Ekman also covers some fascinating related topics such as recognizing facial deceit and discovering the patterns of one's own facial expressions, i.e., what you're telling the world with your own face.

Ekman is an academic and his writing shows it; he's precise, methodical, thorough, and careful in the extent of his claims. Readers who are new to the subject of reading facial expressions but are seriously committed to learning about it will find this an invaluable book.

(Ekman's later work, "Emotions Revealed," is also a great read and contains much of the same information as "Unmasking the Face," although I found the former to be lighter on technical information and practice faces, and more focused on the larger reflections Ekman has made looking back on his work over the last few decades.)
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104 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Serge A. Winitzki on September 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
This seems to be an excellent resource for someone who would like to study facial expressions or improve one's ability to recognize emotions by looking at faces. The text is not just a popular blurb but a fully scientifically backed and high-level textbook designed for a serious student. There are exercises, suggestions on how to overcome one's difficulties or shortcomings, lots of photographs of faces, detailed comments on how certain facial features reflect certain emotions, and so on. I am looking forward to studying everything this book has to offer. Worth every penny!
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Lydia Girndt on May 4, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Paul Ekman gives a very useful and comprehensive instruction on how to read emotions from facial expressions. I probably would have given five stars for the printed edition. But having downloaded it on my kindle I can't use chapter ten properly, where the reader is invited to cut out the pictures for practise. In my opinion that's a real disadvantage one should know before deciding which edition to buy.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Harris on April 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've been familiar with Ekmans work for several years now; I have found nothing else that even comes close to providing the reader with the knowledge they need to master the science of reading the emotions of others by decoding their facial expressions. Ekman is the king!
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on April 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been a writer since I was fourteen years old. Being a writer, you watch people, you study them from afar, you take note of those small looks, those simple smiles, those cringed expressions, and those annoyed twitches that define their feelings on any host of a number of topics or events. People become easy to figure out. I've been a salesman, and the rule of thumb there is, you have seven seconds, from the point that you outstretch your hand, to the point that you say, "Hello, how are you today?" to size a person up, to figure out what type of mood they're in, are they serious about buying, or are they there really to just look. As a heavy man with a taste for beautiful women, you have to know when a woman is interested, when she wants that moment of escalation, when it's the right time to touch her hand, and the right time to kiss her, and the right time to suggest a change of venue. And last but not least, at a poker table, asking those four simple words, "Do you have them?" can mean all the difference between walking home with empty pockets and walking home with a few extra thousand dollars.

People wear their emotions on their sleaves, whether they want to admit it or not, we are all emotional creatures, bound to bouts of anger, happiness, sadness, contempt, disgust, fear, and surprise. This book is a great book to start your education with, though I'm personally more in favor of Emotions Revealed by Eckman. This is an informative book, well written, with the strongest grasp you're going to find on the topic of facial expressions that is not in the academic field. I will be the first to say, for those who have a great interest in understanding how to read people, that this book is not the only material you will ever need.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides the basic tools for beginning to understand the body language of the face.
(Note: do not buy this for a Kindle, because it is graphics intensive and the Kindle has extremely poor image functionality.)
Like any book on body language, the skill is acquired through careful observation of people in the real world. But this book tells you where to look and what to look for. Having read it and just started playing with the flash cards, I find myself suddenly more observant of people's eyebrows, the wrinkles in their forehead, and their naso-labial wrinkles. Especially while watching movies, where there are lots of closeups and no taboo against staring closely at someone's face.
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Unmasking the Face: A Guide to Recognizing Emotions From Facial Expressions
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