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Does anyone place any stock in Paul Ekman’s F.A.C.E Training?

Home Forums Personal Security Does anyone place any stock in Paul Ekman’s F.A.C.E Training?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  mitchell9 7 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #1346 Reply

    Maru Quevedo

    After watching the show Lie To Me, I have become very curious about all of the science behind how some people are able to read faces and mannerisms and tell whether or not someone is lying, or at the very least, concealing something.

    Actually, I find this show to be not only incredibly entertaining, but simply fascinating. I am not sure how much of what they say is real science and could actually be done, and just how much is made up for the story and to make things more entertaining.

    So, I am wondering if anyone out there could shed some light on this for me. Doing my own research I ran into this guy named Paul Ekman. Apparently, he is like the leading guy in the world regarding the methods which are used on the show. In fact, he has pioneered a method called something like FACE training.

    He has been using this for quite some time and actually published a number of technical and scientific works about facial recognition and how to read people based on their expressions. What do you folks think about this method, is it something that is reliable or is it simple pure theory that really does not have much of a scientific basis?

  • #1347 Reply


    Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. It is interesting that it was the show, Lie to Me, that got you interested in this particular subject. For me, it was just the reverse. I have been interested in this subject for many years and can tell you that Paul Ekman is indeed the pioneer researcher in this field. In fact, he even works as the main technical consultant to the show from what I understand. The program is pretty much based on his own work and business.

    The field is actually based on the study of micro expressions. These are the little subtle clues that people give off to indicate certain emotions or states of feeling. This is based on a lot of study and research, 50 years or so. Although to be honest, there are just as many scientists who disagree with the methods of Ekman as there are who do give his theories credence. Most of what they show on the TV, at least in terms of the pictures or videos that are analyzed, is pretty close to reality.

    If you think about it, there are some professions that rely on things like micro expressions quite a bit. For example, anyone who has ever sat at the poker or card table knows that reading people is both an art and a science. The best card players do this without even thinking about it, almost instinctively.

    As some additional proof that these methods are scientifically valid, consider the fact that a number of different companies have actually employed the Ekman group to train their management teams (and sometimes employees) in these techniques. There are even a number of government agencies who have, and continue to use, these methods.

  • #1348 Reply


    You know, in my gut, I knew this stuff was true as soon as I heard about it the first time.  There was just something about it that rang true.  I am planning to try and take some of the classes.  I just can't afford it right now though. 

    Ever since I heard about it, I just want to know what all of the micro expressions mean.  I mean, I see the micro expressions that Ekman is talking about sometimes and I think, wow.  I even feel them on my own face when I don’t care for someone or don't trust them.  I know they're there.  However, I just feel like it's one of those things that people will say is scientifically invalid and yada yada, like lie detectors.  And I can see why people might think that and how scientifically, okay, I see where they're coming from kind of.  But I don't know, I just feel like people that think those things and worry about things like that being scientific are probably just liars.  Though I have no proof of it, that's what it feels like to me. 

    Like if someone asked me to take a lie detector about something I wasn't lying about, the last thing I would be thinking about is whether the test was scientifically valid and statistics, I'd be desperately trying to prove my innocence.  I don't know, I just think liars are the ones that are bringing all those nitpicky facts to light.

    I think that Ekman's techniques however are right on the money.  It's like something we all know deep down to be true.  The only things that can affect these things in my opinion is a person memorizing what's behind it, but I think micro expressions are almost too hard for someone to control even if they have memorized an expression and know that they don’t want to make it.  I have tried to hide my disappointment in people and feel my face doing it even though I know the person might not see it.  Because I know about Ekman, I know I'm doing it and want to control it but I can't.  I think micro expressions might even be impossible to control.  In the end, it's one of those things that I find incredibly fascinating, but you can only just use it for your own information.  I doubt that they will ever let it go into the courts and that people will ever believe it is a valid form of proof.  However, I think that if you find it interesting, you should study it and use it in your life. 

    I think it is a great life's work and that it should be celebrated and appreciated for the great wealth of information that it is.  Don't worry about the naysayers, because I have a feeling that they're just liars anyway.

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