Reading Paul Eckman’s book was a revelation for me! My first read of the book was 2004 and I can’t honestly say how many times I have re-read this book, studied the content and continue to underline and study the research. For me it was not an easy read but clearly worth the effort I put forth.
In his early research Eckman discovered the fact that the face contains 43 facial muscles, and he was able to voluntarily activate each muscle except for the 43rd muscle, which is the muscle that activates, what Chet referred to as the Duchenne Smile. The Duchenne smile is an expression that signals true enjoyment. It occurs when the zygomaticus major muscle lifts the corners of your mouth at the same time the orbicularis oculi muscles lift your cheeks and crinkle your eyes at the corners.
If you read the blog consistently, I’m sure you have seen references to the Gottman’s, and their book, 7 Keys to a Successful Marriage. They’re recognized as the gold standard of marriage counseling, as well as their 50 + years of marital research. The Gottman’s site, Eckman’s work, and the critical importance of facial recognition of emotions and body language.
These are just a few facts that helped me to better understand my wife Chris of 46 years. If you met Chris, you would clearly understand one thing for sure, this woman uses all 43 facial muscles when she communicates. I started paying a lot more attention to these expressions of Happiness, Sadness, Disgust and Anger, the 4 Universal Emotions. I now realized even more the need for me to Tune in, Lean in and Listen. I also realized more now than ever, one of the reasons I married my wife is the energy, kindness, joy and compassion she communicates with those 43 facial muscles.