Emotionsand Facial Expression

Emotionsand Facial Expression

Non-verbalexpressions are quite common in face-to-face communication. Verbaland non-verbal cues help the communicating parties get the message inthe correct way. For an instant, emotional expressions that are madeon the face may add some emphasis to a message that is being conveyedverbally. The seven emotions that are revealed by facial expressionand facial management techniques will be discussed in this paper.

Importanceof studying how people express emotions non-verbally

Studyingthe way people express emotions non-verbally has two key benefits.First, the study helps people get the correct interpretation of theintended message. The study helps the communicating parties have anunderstanding of the meaning of different non-verbal cues. Thisleads to the correct interpretation of emotions. Secondly, a study ofhow emotions are expressed non-verbally help the communicatingparties get the hidden message that the other party has failed tocommunicate verbally. For example, the study may help a personunderstand the emotions that the other party is trying hard to maskor neutralize.

Emotionsrevealed through facial expressions

Facialexpression can be used to reveal seven key emotions. First, surpriseis a micro-expression that is used to reveal astonishment followingan unexpected event. Facial muscles help in the revelation of asurprise by stretching the skin below the brow, creating horizontalwrinkles in the forehead, raising and curving the brows, dropping thejaws, and parting the teeth.

Secondly,fear is an unpleasant emotion that reveals distress for ananticipated adverse event. The facial muscles raise and draw thebrows together, raise the eyelid, create wrinkles between the brows,open the mouth, and tense the lips.

Third,disgust is an emotion that reveals disapproval or revulsion. Facialmuscles contribute towards the revelation of this emotion by raisingthe upper lid, creating wrinkles on the nose, raising the lower lid,developing lines below the lower lid, and raising the cheeks. Forexample, disgust is a common emotion that is expressed when someonenotices a bad smell.

Fourth,anger is a common emotion that reveals a strong feeling of beinguncomfortable to some perceived provocations. Anger is revealed whenthe facial muscles draw together and lower the brows, create verticallines between the brows, bulge the eyes, dilate the nostrils, pressthe lips firmly together, and jut out the lower jaw.

Fifth,happiness is an emotion that reveals contentment to some intense joy.Facial muscles play a critical role of revealing this emotion bydrawing the corners of the lips back and up, parting the lips toexpose the teeth, creating wrinkles that run from the outer lip toouter nose, raising the cheeks, and tensing the lower lid.

Sixth,sadness is an emotion that reveals a feeling of loss ordisadvantaged. Facial muscles reveal sadness by drawing inner cornersof eyebrows in and then up, triangulating the skin below the eyebrow,drawing down the corner of the lips, and bringing the jaws up.

Seventh,contempt is an emotion showing that something is beneathconsideration. Contempt is revealed when facial muscles raise oneside of the mouth.

Facialmanagement techniques

Thereare four key facial management techniques that describe how peopledisplay their behaviors through different non-verbal cues. The firsttechnique is masking, which involves one’s attempt to repressemotions that are related to emotions that are felt. An individualtries to replace these emotions with expressions that are likely tobe acceptable in the underlying circumstances. Masking is common inrelationships, where an individual in a new relationship mask afeeling of anger whenever they are wronged by the other party.

Secondly,intensification is a technique that is used to exaggerate one’sfeeling. For example, one is likely to smile when a friend recommendsa restaurant that is different from one’s choice. In such ascenario, one is likely to smile even though the recommendedrestaurant may not be their first choice. In this case excitement orhappiness is intensified.

Thethird technique is the neutralization and it involves the eliminationof all emotional expressions. For example, being an employee, it isimportant to neutralize all emotions when being reprimanded by theboss. This technique can help the employee avoid showingdissatisfaction or anger to the employer in order to avoid losing thejob.

Fourth,de-intensification is a technique that is used to minimize theintensity of facial the expression, which is common when theunderlying circumstances require downplaying of how one truly feels.For example, one may de-intensify emotions when rejecting a proposalmade by a parent in public and then express the true feelings inprivate where none of them will be affected negatively by a genuineexpression.

Universalnature of emotions

Althoughthere is no conclusive evidence to show that emotional expression isuniversal, it is clear that there are some emotions that areexpressed in the same way across different cultures. However, somevariations in the meaning may exist. Reading emotional expressions iscritically important because it helps people understand the unspokenmessage by observing the face as well as other non-verbal cues.Therefore, reading emotional expressions can help people understandthe strength of their relationship and the true feelings of theirpartners or friends.


Non-verbalcues add some emphasis to a message that is communicated verbally.Facial expression is among the most significant types of non-verbalcues. The face may be used to express different emotions, includingsurprise, disgust, fear, anger, happiness, contempt, and sadness.Facial expressions can be managed using different techniques,including masking, neutralizing, intensification, andde-intensification.