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Uncovering the Secrets of Morphopsychology: The Art of Reading the Face

Updated: Apr 19

The human face is a canvas rich in details, expressions and nuances that often reflect deep aspects of a person's personality and character. Since ancient times, different cultures have explored the possibility of interpreting these facial features as indicators of personality traits, abilities and even future destinies. One of the most fascinating practices developed in this field is morphopsychology.

What is Morphopsychology?

Morphopsychology is a discipline that seeks to analyse and interpret the physical characteristics of the human face as a reflection of an individual's personality, temperament and psychological characteristics. It assumes that the physical characteristics of the face are directly linked to the person's personality traits and behaviour.

Through the face, we can “read” what each person's motivations are, how we think, and how we deal with our feelings and act. Every facial feature, expression line and mark on the skin speaks about our personality, every smile given, emotions and pain experienced.

According to Hippocrates: “Personality manifests itself physically”.

This happens because our face, as well as the muscles underneath the skin, are directly connected to our brain and receive all the stimulus of emotions in less than a fifth of a second.

It is practically impossible to control an emotion. And the excess movements in facial muscles due to the emotions we feel throughout our lives leave marks on our faces.

History and Development

Morphopsychology has its roots in ancient traditions, such as face reading practised in China and India thousands of years ago.

Darwin, in 1862, already said that emotional expressions are innate and universal.

However, it was in the 19th century that morphopsychology began to develop as a more formal discipline, with the work of French doctor Louis Corman (considered the father of morphopsychology), who studied the relationship between facial characteristics and the human psyche.

In the 1960s, Dr Paul Ekman, through field research, validated and catalogued 6 basic and innate emotions as universal facial expressions: joy, sadness, anger, disgust, fear and surprise. The individual, when coming into contact with one of these emotions, will move muscles in the face. Later, he catalogued the seventh facial expression “acquired” according to the environment in which the human being is inserted, which is contempt.

Since then, morphopsychology has been studied and applied in several areas, including psychology, recruitment, therapy, marketing and sales and even in image consultancy to promote a more refined and in-depth delivery.

7 images of a man with light skin and brown hair, each representing a micro facial expression: joy, sadness, contempt, disgust, fear, astonishment

How it works?

Morphopsychological analysis involves the observation and interpretation of a series of facial characteristics, including the shape of the face, and the proportions of the nose, eyes, mouth, and chin, among other elements. Each trait is associated with different personality and behavioural traits, and combining these traits can provide valuable insights into a person's psyche.

For example, a prominent chin can be associated with determination and willpower, while full lips can indicate sensuality and sociability. Likewise, thick eyebrows can be a sign of assertiveness and leadership.

Practical applications

Although morphopsychology is often seen as a pseudoscience by some, many professionals use it as a complementary tool in several areas. In psychology, for example, it can be useful in helping to better understand patients and adapt therapeutic approaches according to their characteristics.

In the field of recruitment and selection, morphopsychological analysis can provide valuable insights into candidates, helping recruiters identify characteristics that are important for certain roles or organizational cultures.

Just like in image consultancy, having this understanding helps to communicate these behavioural traits through visuals. For example, a more introspective and insecure person will identify with more sober, structured clothing colours that don't attract too much attention. Just as extroverted and sociable people will not identify themselves visually with more discreet and sober clothes. This sociability and expansiveness applied to clothing allow us to work with a mix of colours and prints, volumes, and textures, as well as a mix of completely different styles, such as a delicate lace dress and black combat boots.

consultant with fair skin, short shoulder-length brown hair using the caliper to measure the face of the client who is facing the mirror and has fair skin, long blonde hair.

Final considerations

Morphopsychology is a fascinating discipline that reminds us of the complexity and richness of human nature. Although it is not an exact science, it can offer interesting and useful insights when used wisely and cautiously.

By exploring the secrets of the human face, we can learn a lot about ourselves and others, opening new doors to self-knowledge, interpersonal understanding and personal development. After all, as the saying goes, "the eyes are the window to the soul" - and morphopsychology invites us to peer through that window and discover the mysteries that reside within each of us.


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