Do You Know How to "Read" a Face?

If you've read Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink", you know how human behaviors are often instinctive - to the point that you can't control your "tell" (to use a poker term).

Gladwell describes "SPAFF" (Coan & Gottman) which breaks down human reactions into emotional states. It's not an easy technique to master - but Gottman can predict, with uncanny accuracy, whether a couple will be divorced with 5 years after listening to a few snips of conversation.

A descripition of SPAFF (Specific Affect Coding System) can be downloaded at I highly recommend it.

  • history
  • philosophy
  • physical features & cultural informants
  • seeing vs observing
  • 3 rules of people watching
  • facial expressions
  • actions - upper face
  • actions - lower face
  • The Codes (Emotional Categories)

    - function (purpose)
    - indicators
    - physical cues
    - counter-indications