Based on excerpts from this article. Facial expression in communicationWhat do facial expressions tell us? What kinds of information can we gather from seeing the expressions of others? Whether or not we are given contextual clues, what kinds of things can we presume about another person’s state based on their face? Should we consider these as messages sent to us, a form of communication via facial expression, or are they involuntary expressions of an internal state?For example, consider the expression shown by the woman in this photograph I took in 1967 when I was in the highlands of what is now called Papua New Guinea. Consider the diverse information that someone might obtain when observing this expression, totally out of context, just as it appears here: Compare this to the information that could be obtained from the expression shown by another person from Papua New Guinea: What do facial expressions tell us?Each facial expression of emotion communicates very different information, yet they all potentially provide information about the same seven kinds or domains of information, including:We do not know which information domains those actually engaged in a conversation derive from each other’s expressions.
It could be only one information domain or all of them. Which it is may depend on who those people are, how well they know each other, what they are talking about, their social class, and their culture.
In other words, we do not know the answer, and there is no certain way to find out.The people involved in the conversations could not tell us. Even if we interrupted an individual and asked them what they thought when they saw a particular expression on the other’s face, we would not necessarily find out.