Paul Ekman

One of the 20th Centuries most influential psychologists

About Dr Paul Ekman (phD)

Who is Dr. Paul Ekman?

  • One of ‘TIME Magazine’ Top 100 most influential people.
  • One of ‘The American Psychological Association’ most influential psychologists of the 20th Century.
  • Scientific Adviser to the FOX/Sky TV drama ‘Lie to Me’ based on his work and life experience.
  • Recipient of ‘The William James Fellow Award’.
  • Recipient of ‘The Distinguished Scientific Contribution’ Award.
  • Faculty Research Lecturer at The University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Paul Ekman is an American psychologist and expert in the fields of emotions, nonverbal communication, and deception detection. His extensive scientific research has him regarded as one of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th Century, and his ability to read others has earned him the reputation of ‘the best human lie detector in the world’.

The Dalai Lama & Dr. Ekman

Paul Ekman was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and New York University. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Adelphi University (1958), after a one-year internship at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute.  After two years as a Clinical Psychology Officer in the U.S. Army, he returned to Langley Porter where he worked from 1960 to 2004. His research on facial expression and body movement began in 1954, as the subject of his Master’s thesis in 1955 and his first publication in 1957.

Over the next decade, a social psychological and cross-cultural emphasis characterized his work, with a growing interest in an evolutionary and semiotic frame of reference. In addition to his basic research on emotion and its expression, he has, for the last thirty years, also been studying deceit. 

Some of Ekman’s recent work emerges from his close relationship with the Dalai Lama, who he has spent more than fifty hours in one-on-one conversation with. This undertaking marks Ekman’s trajectory from establishing universals in the expressions of emotion to elucidating individual differences in how emotions are experienced.


CEO Cliff Lansley & Dr. Paul Ekman

Dr Paul Ekman & Paul Ekman International

Paul Ekman supported the Emotional Intelligence Academy in establishing Paul Ekman International (PEI) under an exclusive license to make his work more accessible through high-quality training courses. Paul Ekman International is now responsible for taking this work outward via Paul Ekman Approved Trainers and Licensed Delivery Centres across the globe.

After working as a professor for over thirty years, Dr. Ekman retired in 2004. His next goal was to translate his research into helpful resources for the general public. To do so, he formed the Paul Ekman Group (PEG) and wrote his popular book, Emotions Revealed. An earlier publication, Telling Lies, also prompted national and regional law enforcement groups to ask for help. In response, Ekman developed online interactive training tools and in-person workshops.

In 2009, Paul Ekman was approached by Emotional Intelligence Academy (EIA Group), with a proposal to combine the strengths of the two organizations to make emotional skills and deception programs more widely accessible to those who want and need them. This led to the formation of Paul Ekman International (PEI) whose mission is to “improve lives by developing emotional competencies and deception detection skills to help make the world more compassionate and safe”.

PEI’s head office is in Manchester, UK, where it coordinates and quality assures the courses that are delivered to organizations and individuals all over the world, in multiple languages, by its core team and international partners, trainers and consultants.


Dr. Paul Ekman’s Awards & Achievements:

In 1971, he received a Research Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health; that Award has been renewed in 1976, 1981, 1987, 1991, and 1997. His research was supported by fellowships, grants, and awards from the National Institute of Mental Health for over forty years.

Dr. Paul Ekman

Articles reporting on Dr. Ekman’s work have appeared in Time Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Psychology Today, The New Yorker and others.

Dr. Paul Ekman has appeared on 48 Hours, Dateline, Good Morning America, 20/20, Larry King, Oprah, Johnny Carson and many other TV programs. He has also been featured on various public television programs such as News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and Bill Moyers’ The Truth About Lying.

Ekman is a co-author of Emotion in the Human Face (1971), Unmasking the Face (1975), Facial Action Coding System (1978), editor of Darwin and Facial Expression (1973), co-editor of Handbook of Methods in Nonverbal Behavior Research (1982), Approaches to Emotion (1984), The Nature of Emotion (1994), What the Face Reveals (1997), and author of Face of Man (1980), Telling Lies (1985, paperback, 1986, second edition, 1992, third edition, 2001, 4th edition 2008), Why Kids Lie (1989, paperback 1991), Emotions Revealed, (2003), New Edition (2009) Telling Lies, Dalai Lama-Emotional Awareness (2008) and New Edition Emotions Revealed (2007).  He is the editor of the third edition (1998) and the fourth edition (2009) of Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1998).
He has published more than 100 articles.

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