The six universal facial expressions - recognized around the world
It is now generally accepted that certain basic facial expressions of human emotion are recognized around the world - and that the use and recognition of these expressions is genetically inherited rather than socially conditioned or learned.
While there have been found to be minor variations and differences among obscurely isolated tribes-people, the following basic human emotions are generally used, recognized, and part of humankind's genetic character:
These emotional face expressions are:
Darwin's assertions about genetically inherited facial expressions remained the subject of much debate for many years.
In the 1960s a Californian psychiatrist and expert in facial expressions, Paul Ekman, (with Sorenson and Friesen - see references) conducted and published extensive studies with people of various cultures to explore the validity of Darwin's theory - that certain facial expressions and man's ability to recognize them are inborn and universal among people. Ekman's work notably included isolated tribes-people who could not have been influenced by Western media and images, and essentially proved that Darwin was right - i.e., that the use and recognition of facial expressions to convey certain basic human emotions is part of human evolved nature, genetically inherited, and not dependent on social learning or conditioning.