How to read someone's emotions through their facial expressions

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Don't we already have the ability to detect emotions by nature?

In all my previous articles about face reading I talked about the connection between facial features and personality. In those articles i explained how you can determine many of the famous personality traits by just looking at someone's face.

In this series i am going to talk about a totally different skill which is recognizing a person's emotions through his face. But why would you need to learn such a skill? Don't we all have a built in ability to detect the emotions of others?

While our minds already have the capability to detect those who experience intense emotions still most of us lack the ability to detect subtle emotional changes or ones that aren't that intense.

I am sure every human being in the world can detect a sad face but what about a slightly sad face for a person who is about to become really sad in the next few minutes?

Here is where this new skill comes in handy. By learning how to notice the subtle changes that happen in the face you won't just be able to read people's emotions but you will also be able to detect the slightest change in emotions way earlier before they become intense.

How to read someone's emotions through their facial expressions

Studies found that when emotions change very slight changes happen in the face such as the appearance of wrinkles on the forehead, change in the shape of the eyebrows or movement of one of the eyelids.

Before you can explore the connection between facial features and emotions you first need to see how a normal face and a face with intense emotions look like.

In the two pictures below you can see a normal face (left) and a very sad face (right).

Now the important question is, where are the transitional stages that happened between those two faces? Or in other words, what are the stages that this girl passed through before her face became that sad? Here you are:

Analyzing the changes in facial expressions

Can you tell the difference between the normal image and the last two?
What made you believe the last two pictures are half sad?

Its because of the lowering of the eye lid and the movement of the brows. If you compared the position of the eye lid in picture one with pictures 3 and 4 you will discover that the eye lid was actually lowered.

Notice also how the brows changed their shape as a result of the movement of the facial muscles that controls them. Those are two clear signs of sadness. As soon as you see someone's brows and eyelids changing their shape that way know that this person is starting to feel sad.

Even if the girl in the pictures wasn't looking down you can still conclude that she feels sad because of the changes i just mentioned but of course looking down is another clear sign of sadness. Notice also how a line appeared joining the nose and the lip in picture 4.

Remember in face reading when i called that the grief line and said that it shows up when people feel sad for prolonged periods of time?

Finally the movement of the lip line which is clear in picture number 4 is another popular sign that reflects sadness. Again people who keep experiencing sadness for prolonged periods of time develop permanent changes in the shape of those muscles and as a result have mouths that look sad. (see also Lip lines in face reading)

While talking to a person notice how his eye lids and eyebrows move for they are a very good indication of less intense feelings of sadness.

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