Darwin and Facial Expression: A Century of Research in Review

Darwin and Facial Expression: A Century of Research in Review

Paul Ekman

Language: English

Pages: 294

ISBN: 188353688X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In Darwin and Facial Expression, Paul Ekman and a cast of other notable scientists, consider the central concepts and key sources of information in Darwin’s work on emotional expression. Darwin claimed that we cannot understand human emotional expression without first understanding the emotional expressions of animals, as our emotional expressions are in large part determined by our evolution. Not only are there similarities between man and certain other animals in the appearance of some emotional expressions, but the principles which explain why a particular emotional expression occurs with a particular emotion apply across species. This book illuminates Darwin's understanding with the light of present scientific knowledge. This new Malor edition contains new and updated references.

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were conducted. In our first study conducted in 1967 (Ekman, Sorenson, & Friesen, 1969), we showed photographs of facial expression to people in two preliterate cultures, in Borneo and in New Guinea. We encountered difficulty with the judgment procedure, in which an observer is shown a photograph and asked to choose an emotion word or category from a list. These people could not read any language, and asking them to remember a list of emotion words repeatedly read to them after each photograph

Marler, 1961). Accordingly, gaze aversion, a common signal of mild submission, is a striking reversal of the stare, which is a component of all threat displays. Similarly, in some monkeys, e.g., the stumptail macaque, Macaca arctoides (Chevalier-Skolnikoff, 1971, in press), the play expression is almost identical to one of the threat expressions except that the eyelids are lowered and the gaze is averted, thereby signaling that the apparently threatening or attacking face is really a play face

voluntary. Rather, through natural selection, the animals who had a genetically based tendency to substitute facial displays (e.g., threats) for more dangerous actions (e.g., fighting) probably had a higher survival ratio, thus passing this propensity on to their descendants. In his discussion of vocalizations in animals, Darwin speculated on the relationships between sound function and the structure of sound signals. [see Note 12] He did not, however, speculate on such relationships in

accompanied by firmly closed eyes, a frown on the forehead, raised flesh on the upper cheek, and retracted lips. Such detailed observations attest not only to Darwin’s observational powers but also to the early fullness and complexity of expressive behavior in the human infant. When crying in response to stress or discomfort does not immediately occur, the mouth still seems to be the most salient area of the face. Darwin (1872) noted that in the first 2 and 3 months, when the infant is

offered to generate replicable research. In part, the popularity of Watson’s view may reflect the fact that it was harmonious with the democratic Zeitgeist—the hope that all men could be made equal if their environments were equally benevolent. On this point Ghiselin (1969) commented, Watson flatly rejected the idea that inheritance plays any role in determining behavior patterns, evidently because of his cultural predisposition toward human equality. Although it is easy to sympathize with

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