Physiognomy: Exploring the Art of Face Reading

Written by on September 1, 2021 in Stuff with 0 Comments

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the human face is priceless. Why? Because studies show up to 70% of communication is nonverbal. That means the primary form of conveying thought or emotion between friends, family, co-workers, or strangers is done through body language or facial expressions.

What is Face Reading?

The technical term for face reading is physiognomy. Physiognomy is the study of body movements and facial expressions invented by the clever Greeks around the 4th century, BC. The Greek philosopher Aristotle is credited for expanding upon the theory of physiognomy and he claimed it as a plausible way to better understand personality traits, characteristics, and human behavior. While physiognomy is considered a pseudoscience (a study that does not measure up to traditional scientific proof), face reading still holds a lot of interest and merit.

How Physiognomy Comes in Handy

The theory of physiognomy has been practiced by the shrewdest professionals such as criminologists, FBI agents, police officers as well as savvy salesmen, and business executives. The idea of getting the ‘untold story’ behind what a person is thinking or feeling without uttering a word is like getting the inside scoop. Mastering the art of face reading may allow practitioners to uncover lies, reveal ulterior motives or give insight into the true reasons behind a person’s words and actions.

Tips to Acing Physiognomy and Face Reading

As with any practice or technique, the art of reading faces can’t be mastered overnight. However, with keen attention and study, you can learn a lot about people. Even though face makeup or mascara can convey beauty and allure, interpreting facial expressions may reveal something altogether different. With that in mind, here are a few tips about reading facial features so you can discern communication on a deeper, non-verbal level.

Mouth: Sure, we speak with our mouths, and a smile might be intended to show favor. But what’s the real truth behind that toothy grin? There are certain ticks or twitches that every mouth unconsciously reveals. For example, no matter how happy someone acts, if the corners of their mouth are drawn downward, this is a cue of sadness or disdain. Conversely, raised corners of the mouth are typically a sign of genuine amusement or pleasure. An open mouth indicates fear. A dropped jaw combined with an open mouth suggests feelings of shock or surprise.  Watch what people are doing with their mouths. For instance, biting lips is usually a sign of anxiety and covering the mouth with hands often means a person is withholding information or reluctant to share.

Eyes:  It’s been said eyes are the windows into the soul. In terms of physiognomy, that might very well be true. Have you ever wondered if that guy or gal is really into you? Watch his or her pupils while interacting. If they grow wide (become dilated), then that’s a sign of arousal. If you see no change in the pupils or constriction, it may mean the attraction isn’t there. Similarly, if a person averts their eyes, it’s an indication of shame or distaste. But if they are staring right at you it may indicate intense interest in what you’re conveying. Also, pay attention to blinking because it could clue you in on levels of honesty.  Frequent blinking (barring medical conditions) is a sign of nervousness, dishonesty, or distress. Alternatively, no blinking with direct eye contact could mean an earnest need to be understood, believed, or an absolute sense of self-confidence.

Eyebrows: It doesn’t matter if they are thick, thin, or if someone is sporting a unibrow; subtle, unconscious movements of eyebrows can be very revealing. For instance, slight upward twitches or raised brows can express a latent knowing, curiosity, or holding tight to a secret. Two raised eyebrows together often indicate surprise or sudden understanding of a bright idea. Lowered brows that are furrowed towards the center of the forehead are a clear indication of frustration, anger, or aggression. However, if the brows are pinched upward in the center, this is a sign of empathy, concern, or sincere sadness.

The Final Word about Face Reading

As mentioned, physiognomy isn’t an exact science. However, there are universal, facial signals that all humans unconsciously express on their faces. If you can learn to read these expressions correctly, you are privy to an unspoken language. Furthermore, interpreting non-verbal communication through face reading can potentially reveal a lot more about a person than what he or she may convey on the surface.





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