Albert Mehrabian Biography

Photograph of Dr. Albert Mehrabian

Dr. Albert Mehrabian

Dr. Albert Mehrabian is a prominent psychologist currently associated with the University of California at Los Angeles as a Professor Emeritus. Although the bulk of his work was published after the death of Dr. Eric Berne in 1970, his findings on body language confirmed many of the principles of Transactional Analysis as defined in Games People Play.

Dr. Mehrabian is perhaps best known for this research in the role of non-verbal communication. He published findings indicating that spoken words only account for 7% of the what a listener perceives; the remaining 93% of what a listener comprehends originates from the speaker’s body language and tone employed in the delivery of the words.

Albert Mehrabian came to psychology with B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Clark University and in 1964 commenced an extended career of teaching and research at the University of California, Los Angeles. He currently devotes his time to research and writing as Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA.

Professor Mehrabian is known for his pioneering work in the field of nonverbal communication (body language). His experiments helped identify nonverbal and subtle ways in which one conveys like-dislike, power and leadership, discomfort and insecurity, social attractiveness, or persuasiveness. Communication and leadership trainers and political campaign managers have often relied on these findings. Additional applications have led to methods for selecting personal names that are conducive to a desirable impression profile (ethical-caring, popular-fun, successful, masculine-feminine) and methods for selecting product, service, or company names that enhance consumer appeal.

albert mehrabian wrote The Name Game

The Name Game is available on

Dr. Mehrabian’s background in engineering and natural science has provided him with a distinct approach to his work in psychology. Knowing that it is impossible to test the validity of ideas without measures, he has devoted much of his forty years of research to the development of psychological scales. His numerous psychometric scales are used both nationally and internationally to help identify individuals with high levels of “emotional intelligence,” or more precisely, those who are likely to succeed in various areas of life, high achievers, individuals with strong social and communication skills, or those who have a high capacity for empathy and emotional intelligence in intense person-oriented work.

Dr. Mehrabian’s approach to measurement includes a unique “opaque” (or camouflaged) approach to obviate response distortions by those tested. Other applications of his work have helped identify optimum emotional characteristics of top-level athletes and workers in high-stress situations and the emotional climate at work that is conducive to high levels of worker morale and productivity.

Professor Mehrabian’s major theoretical contributions include a three-dimensional mathematical model for the precise and general description and measurement of emotions. His emotion scales can be used to assess the emotional impact of a workplace, a specific packaging idea, an advertisement, or a psychotropic drug. His parallel three-dimensional temperament model is a comprehensive system for describing and measuring differences among individuals (e.g., emotional intelligence, extroversion, achievement, empathy, depression, hostility, cooperativeness).

Albert Mehrabian has served as consulting editor to Sociometry, Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Journal of Psychology and has authored a large number of books and scientific articles. His books include Tactics of Social Influence, Silent Messages, Nonverbal Communication, Public Places and Private Spaces, Basic Dimensions for a General Psychological Theory, Eating Characteristics and Temperament, Your Inner Path to Investment Success: Insights into the Psychology of Investing, The Name Game: The Decision that Lasts a Lifetime, and Baby Name Report Card: Beneficial and Harmful Baby Names.

The Name Game

The Name Game: The Decision That Lasts a Lifetime is perhaps Dr. Mehrabian’s most well known work. While it does not explicitly address his famous findings on non-verbal communication, Dr. Mehrabian elaborates on the importance of names. He discusses how a child’s name will play a major role in determining the personality and characteristics of that child. Mehrabian illustrates this with easy-to-comprehend examples, such as why a physicists never have the names Buck or Duke, or why certain celebrities change their names. Mehrabian also includes a list of over 1800 names to consider for new babies.

Bibliography of Dr. Albert Mehrabian

Mehrabian, A. (1968). An Analysis of Personality Theories. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Wiener, M., & Mehrabian, A. (1968). Language Within Language: Immediacy, a Channel in Verbal Communication. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York.

Mehrabian, A. (1970). Tactics of Social Influence. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Mehrabian, A. (1970). Tacticas de Influencia Social [Tactics of social influence]. Editora Tecnica, Mexico.

Mehrabian, A. (1971). Silent Messages. Wadsworth, Belmont, California.

Mehrabian, A. (1981). Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes (2nd ed.). Wadsworth, Belmont, California.

Mehrabian, A. (1986). Silent Messages (Japanese Trans.). Seibunsha Co., Tokyo.

Mehrabian, A. (1972). Nonverbal Communication. Aldine-Atherton, Chicago, Illinois.

Mehrabian, A., & Ksionzky, S. (1974). A theory of affiliation. D.C. Heath, Lexington, Mass.

Mehrabian, A., & Russell, J.A. (1974). An Approach to Environmental Psychology. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Mehrabian, A. (1976). Public Places and Private Spaces: The Psychology of Work, Play, and Living Environments. Basic Books, New York.

Mehrabian, A. (1978). Raume des Alltags Oder wie die Umwelt unser Verhalten bestimmt [Public places and private spaces]. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt/Main.

Mehrabian, A. (1981). Public Places and Private spaces. (Japanese Trans.). Kawashima Shoten, Tokyo.

Mehrabian, A. (1978). Basic Behavior Modification. Human Sciences Press, New York.

Mehrabian, A. (1980). Basic Dimensions for a General Psychological Theory: Implications for Personality, Social, Environmental, and Developmental Studies. Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain, Cambridge, Mass.

Mehrabian, A. (1987). Eating Characteristics and Temperament: General Measures and Interrelationships. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Mehrabian, A. (1991). Your Inner Path to Investment Success: Insights into the Psychology of Investing Probus, Chicago.

Mehrabian, A. (1992). The Name Game: The Decision That Lasts a Lifetime. Penguin Group, New York.