You are unprepared for the unexpected event that suddenly unfolds and
surprises you. Your attention is immediately focused.
- Sudden unexpected event
Synonyms for surprise include amazed and astonished. While Paul Ekman
regards surprise as an emotion, he distinguishes it from startle, which he
regards as a reflex. Both are brief, but surprise is not as short as a startle.
Also, you can be startled even if you are expecting the event, say a gun shot or
other loud noise, however you cannot be surprised if you know what is about to
happen. Finally, the eyes are wide open in a surprised expression and tightly
closed in a startle reaction.
Surprise increases our alertness and focuses our attention. Surprise
motivates us to find answers.
|The facial expression of surprise has these distinctive
- Eyes wide open,
- Jaw dropped, with the mouth wide open.
- The “surprise brow” appears with eyebrows curved and high as the brow is
lifted to expose more skin below.
The wide open eyes increase alertness and broaden vision. The obvious and
distinctive facial features may serve to alert others to the unexpected
Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life, by Paul Ekman