Book/ Chapter 4

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Published on 20 Jun 2011
School
UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC18H3
Chapter 4
To document how people flirt, Givens and Perper.
What they discovered was a layered and varied language by which women and men negotiate
romantic inclinations. In the initial attention-getting phase, men roll their shoulders and raise their
arms with exaggerated gestures that allow them to show off potential signs of their social status
their well-developed arms or flashy watches. At the same time, women smile coyly, they look
askance, they flick their hair, and walk with an arched back and swaying hips. In the recognition
phase, women and men gaze intently at each other, they express interest with raised eyebrows, sing-
song voice, melodious laughter, and subtle lip puckers.
Finally, in the keeping-time phase, the potential partners mirror each other’s glances, laughter,
gaze, and posture, to assess their interest in one another.
Five kinds of nonverbal behaviour
Often single words like smile” fail adequately to describe the language of nonverbal
communication.
To help clarify the study of emotional communication, Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen organized
the language of nonverbal behaviour into five categories. First is the category of emblems:
nonverbal gestures that directly translate into words. Well-known examples for English speakers
include the peace sign, the rubbing of one forefinger with the other to say shame on you, and in
the late 1960s, the raised, clenched fist for Black Power.
Emblems vary in their meanings across cultures.
A second category of nonverbal behaviours is the illustrator, a nonverbal gesture that accompanies
our speech, and often makes it vivid and visual. We make hand gestures most of the time when we
speak – spend a few minutes observing. McNeill has shown that these gestures slightly precede the
corresponding words we say.
Regulators are nonverbal behaviours that we use to coordinate conversation. People look and point
at and orient their bodies toward people whom they want to start speaking. They look and turn
their bodies away from those they wish would stop speaking.
A fourth kind of nonverbal behaviour is the self-adaptor, which refers to nervous behaviours
people engage in with no seeming intention, as if simply to release nervous energy. People touch
their necks, tug at their hair, jiggle their legs, and stroke their chins. Finally there are nonverbal
expressions or displays of emotion: signals in the face, voice, body, and touch that convey emotion.
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Facial expressions of emotion
The markers of emotional expressions: Several characteristics have been identified that
differentiate emotional expressions from other nonverbal behaviour. Most of these criteria have
been established in the study of facial expression, although we expect some of these criteria to
apply to other kinds of emotional communication as well. First, expressions of emotion tend to be
fairly brief, typically lasting between 1 and 10 seconds. A smile accompanying enjoyment will
typically start and stop within a span of 10 seconds. A polite smile that does not accompany the
experience of emotion might be exceptionally brief, lasting a quarter of a second, or it might
endure for some time, for instance when someone smiles politely the=rough the entire course of an
unpleasant dinner party.
Second, facial expressions of emotion involve involuntary muscle actions that people cannot
produce when they feel like it, and cannot suppress, even when instructed to do so. The facial
expression of anger, for example, involves the action of the muscle that tightens around the mouth,
which most people cannot produce voluntarily. The facial expression of sympathy involves two
muscle actions in the upper part of the face that produce oblique eyebrows, which cannot be
produced by most people voluntarily. Feigned expressions of anger, therefore, would lack the
muscle tightening around the mouth; feigned expressions of sympathy would lack the oblique
eyebrows.
Third, emotional expressions should have their parallels, or homologues, in the displays of other
species. If emotions derive from our evolutionary heritage, then certain elements of human
affective displays should be seen in other species.
Studies of the universality of facial expressions
Darwin proposed three principles to explain why emotional expressions have the appearance that
they do. First, according to the principle of serviceable habits, expressive behaviours that have led
to rewards will re-occur in the future.
Second, the principle of antithesis holds that opposing states will be associated with opposing
expressions.
Third, the principle of nervous discharge states that excess, undirected energy is released in
random expressions, such as face touches, leg jiggles, and the like.
Sylvan Tomkins, Paul Ekman, and Carroll Izard carefully read this work of Darwins, and distilled
his observations into two simple hypotheses. First the encoding hypothesis: if emotions are
universal, the experience of different emotions should be associated with the same distinct facial
expression in every society, worldwide. Second, the decoding hypothesis: if they are universal
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emotions, people of different cultures should interpret these expressions in the same ways. These
hypotheses could be tested with facial expressions, vocal expressions, and with touch.
Ekman and Friesen needed to find a culture that had a little or no exposure to Western media or to
Westerners.
Ekman went to Papua, New Guinea, and for six months lived with a people of the Fore.
Ekman relied on a judgment paradigm known as the Dashiell method, in which he devised an
emotion-appropriate story for each of the six emotions.
The consistently find that people from cultures that differ in their religion, political structure,
economic development, and self-construals agree in how they label the photos that depict anger,
disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. The implication is that recognition of the six facial
expressions used in these studies is a universal, evolved parts of human nature.
Critiques of the studies of universal facial expressions
There have been several critiques of the hypothesis of the universal facial expresions. First is the
gradient critique. According to the universality hypothesis, facial expressions that are universal
should be produced in much the same way, and be equally recognizable in all cultures.
Second is the forced choice critique. In Ekman and Friesens study, and many other judgment
studies, particpants were forced to label the expressions using terms researchers provided, namely,
anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise, or their translations.
Participants were asked to label photos of 14 different expressions, including the Ekman
expressions, in their own words. Haidt and Keltner reported evidence that tended to support the
gradient critique. They found a gradient recognition (of the kind that Russell pointed out) in which
some expressions were more recognizable than others. They also reported evidence to counter the
forced choice critique. When coded, the freely produced labels revealed that participants from
these strikingly different cultures used similar concepts in labeling facial expressions of anger,
disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, and embarrassment.
In forced choice judgments, a participant can label a face correctly by a process of elimination
(that face {a disgust face} doesnt look like sadness, or anger, or fear, and it clearly isnt
happiness, or surprise so it must be disgust). Here again the critique has been put to the test. In
one study, particpants were presented with the usual facial expressions and terms, but they were
also given options such as none of the above, or they were given additional response options.
These techniques, which made guessing strategies less likely, did not reduce agreement in judging
facial expression.
A third critique is in terms of ecological validity: perhaps expressions portrayed in Ekmans studies
are not the kinds of expressions that people routinely judge in their daily lives. The expressions are
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Document Summary

To document how people flirt, givens and perper. What they discovered was a layered and varied language by which women and men negotiate romantic inclinations. In the initial attention-getting phase, men roll their shoulders and raise their arms with exaggerated gestures that allow them to show off potential signs of their social status their well-developed arms or flashy watches. At the same time, women smile coyly, they look askance, they flick their hair, and walk with an arched back and swaying hips. In the recognition phase, women and men gaze intently at each other, they express interest with raised eyebrows, sing- song voice, melodious laughter, and subtle lip puckers. Finally, in the keeping-time phase, the potential partners mirror each other"s glances, laughter, gaze, and posture, to assess their interest in one another. Often single words like smile fail adequately to describe the language of nonverbal communication.