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Paul Ekman
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Paul Ekman

Paul Ekman (born 1934) was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Newark, New Jersey, Washington, Oregon, and southern California. He has been a pioneer in the study of emotions and facial expressions, and is currently professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California Medical School.

Contrary to the belief of some anthropologists at the time including Margaret Mead, Ekman found that at least some facial expressions and their corresponding emotions are not culturally determined, but appear to universal to human culture and thus presumably biological in origin, as Charles Darwin had once theorized. Ekman's finding is now widely accepted by scientists. Expressions he found to be universal included anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness and surprise.

Ekman also reported facial "microexpressions" that he claimed could be used to reliably detect lying, in an effort called the Diogenes Project. He also developed the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) to taxonomize every conceivable human facial expression.

In 2001, Ekman collaborated with John Cleese for the BBC documentary series The Human Face.

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