Regardless of whether the humans involved are virtual or real, well-developed conversational skills are a necessity. The synthesis of interface agents that are not only understandable but also believable can be greatly aided by knowledge of which facial motions are perceptually necessary and sufficient for clear and believable conversational facial expressions. Here, we recorded several core conversational expressions (agreement, disagreement, happiness, sadness, thinking, and confusion) from several individuals, and then psychophysically determined the perceptual ambiguity and believability of the expressions. The results show that people can identify these expressions quite well, although there are some systematic patterns of confusion. People were also very confident of their identifications and found the expressions to be rather believable. The specific pattern of confusions and confidence ratings have strong implications for conversational animation. Finally, the present results provide the information necessary to begin a more fine-grained analysis of the core components of these expressions.