Museum of Weird Books of Weird Books

Unmasking the Face

Unmasking the Face: A Guide to Recognizing Emotions from Facial Expressions

By Paul Eckman and Wallace V. Friesan
Prentice-Hall Inc., 1975
This book is filled with close-up black and white photos of men and women demonstrating various facial expressions. Scrunched up noses, knitted brows, raised eyebrows, the "fear mouth," the meaning of the naso-labial fold-all are demonstrated and explained in minute detail. You thought you could recognize facial expressions without a book? Wrong!
The small print on the cover really reads, "Learn how to mug for the camera better than any television actor in ten days or double your money back!"
This page tells us that facial expressions cross cultural boundaries. The two guys on the left, one from Japan and one from America, have just been told their favorite coffee has been replaced with Folger's Crystals. The chart on the right indicates how different cultures interpreted each of the various facial expressions after having their favorite soft drink beverage compared in a taste test to Folger's Crystals.
Here is a man from New Guinea mugging for the camera. He has been asked to provide facial expressions for the following statements: * Your friend has come and you are happy. * Your child has died. * You are angry and about to fight. * You see a dead pig that has been lying there for a long time. Hey, he is appearing with Tom Cruise in a movie next year, Michael Rockefeller Among the Cannibals!
Here is an "identify the customer complaint" practice sheet for McDonald's counter workers. Can you identify the different foreign substances she's tasted in her vanilla milk shake? (The first guy is our manager, Joe, acting here as the "control" expression.) Aaaaah...mashed potatoes, bacon grease, cinnamon, okay, this next one's tough but I can get it...peanut butter, aaaah, motor oil and Hmmmmmmm...bong water?
These are the reactions we got from four different house wives in four different cultures when we dumped an entire bottle of red wine on their living room rug to demonstrate the amazing powers of "Lifto" spot remover and throat gargle. Not really! Were just joking! But I'd like to know what they really were witnessing.

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