Freitas-Magalhães (1966-) was born in Fornelos, Norte region, Portugal. He studied at the University of Coimbra, and he did a Ph.D. in Psychology at University Aberta, Lisbon, and then completed a postdoctoral year (research fellow) in Facial Action Coding System (FACS) with Prof. Paul Ekman at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco, USA. He provides training with Paul Ekman in detecting deception and evaluating truthfulness, and is currently consultant to the Ekman Group (USA). He is the author of the book "The Psychology of Human Smile. Since 2006 he is Professor of the Psychology of Emotions, Psychology and Law, Applied Psychology and Experimental Psychology at University Fernando Pessoa (UFP), in Porto. He is founder and current director of the Facial Emotion Expression Lab (FEELab) at that university. He is fellow of several international scientific societies (e.g. Association for Psychological Science), as well as being member of several literary societies. His studies focuss on the recognition from basic emotions, particularly the smile. He founded the National Front for the Defense of Culture (Lisbon, 1992) with among others José Saramago. He lives in Porto with his wife, Ana, and son, Gonçalo.
He is the author of more than 100 articles, empirical reports, research reviews and theorical papers, as well as attendee to conferences, and has written six books on psychology. Freitas-Magalhães is also the author of 11 novels and has published poetry . The common theme of his research and fiction is on furthering our understandings of interactions within complex systems, especially complex emotional systems. Freitas-Magalhães's theories of fiction includes the idea that novels and poetry are simulations that run not on machines but on our minds. His books have been translated into several languages.
He was distinguished for Scientific Contribution by the UK Government within the “Global Partnership Programme” (2008), Scientific Contribution by “Alive Science” (2007) and “Scientist Generation”(2006) (RTP, Lisbon - Radio and Television of Portugal) and “Portuguese par Excellence” (2003) (TSF, Lisbon).
Besides national (Portuguese) media attention, his research has received international press attention. (e.g, in the European Herald Tribune and The Australian News).