Chapter 4 Communication of Emotions.docx

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Chapter 4
Communication of Emotions
- To document how people flirt, Givens (1983) and Perper (1985) spent hrs in single bars, writing down the patterns of nonverbal
behaviors shown by women and men.
o In the initial attention getting phase, men roll their shoulders and raise their arms with exaggerated gestures that allow
them to show off signs of their social status.At the same time, women smile, they look askance, flick their hair, walk with
arched back and swaying hips.
o In the recognition phase, women and men gaze at each other, they express interest with raised eyebrows, sing song
voice, laughter, and subtle lips. Then women and men explore their interest in aech other with brushes of the arm, pats,
accidental bumps, looking for signs of delight or disgust
o 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
- People express emotions with facial actions, with their voice, with touch, with posture, and with their gait
Five kinds of nonverbal behavior
- Nonverbal communication
- Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesman (1969) organized the language of nonverbal behavior into 5 categories
1. Emblems: nonverbal gestures that directly translate to words
ex. Peace sign
emblems vary in their meaning across cultures
Ex. Extending the index finger and little finger indicates contempt in Italy and Spain, but it unknown in
Britain and Scandinavia. In Britain the equal gesture is raising the first and second fingers with palm
facing towards sender. In America it is raising the middle finger. In Australia it is raising the thumb. All
mean sexual connotation
2. Illustrator: a nonverbal gesture that accompanies our speech, and often makes it vivid and visual
Making hand gestures when we speek
McNeill has shown that these gestures slightly precede the corresponding words we say
Also do facial gestures, raising eyebrows, nodding head, moving torso to show empathy
3. Regulators: nonverbal behaviors that we use to coordinate conversation
People look and point at and orient their bodies toward people whom they want to start speaking. They turn
away from those they wish would stop speaking
4. Self adaptor : refers to nervous behaviors people engage in with no seeming intention, as if simply to release
nervous energy
People touch their necks, tug their hair, jiggle their legs, stroke their chins.
There are nonverbal expressions or displays of emotions: signals in the face, voice, body, and touch that convey
Facial Expressions of Emotion
The markers of emotional expressions (3)
- Expressions of emotion tend to be fairly brief, typically lasting between 1-10 seconds.
o A smile accompanying enjoyment will typically start and stop within a span of 10 seconds.
o A polite smile that does not accompany the experience of emotion might be brief, ¼ of a second, or it might endure for
some time (ex. When someone smiles throughout an unpleasant dinner party)
- 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
o Ex. Anger involves tightening muscles around the mouth
o Ex. Sympathy involves 2 muscle actions in the upper part of the face that produce oblique eyebrows
These involuntary actions have different neuroanatomical basis than voluntary facial actions suggests that
affective displays, as opposed to mock expressions, are reliable indicators of the individuals feelings
- Emotional expressions should have their parallels, or homologues, in the displays of other species
o 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 3 principles to explain why emotional expressions have the appearance that they do
1. According to the principle of serviceable habits, expressive behaviors that have led to rewards will re occur in the future
o Ex. Furrowed brow that protects the eyes from blows and exposed teeth that signal attack are beneficial in aggressive
encounters and occur when we’re angry
2. The principle of antithesis holds that opposing states will be associated with opposing expressions
o Ex. Strength and confidence are expressed by expanding the chest and shoulders whereas weakness and uncertainty are
expressed by the opposite, a shoulder shrug
3. The principle of nervous discharge states that excess, undirected energy is released in random expressions, such as face
touches, leg jiggles, and the like
- Darwin claims that facial expressions of emotions are human universals
- Tomkins, Ekman, and Izard made two simple hypotheses from Darwin
o Encoding hypothesis: if emotions are universal, the experience of different emotions should be associated with the
same distinct facial expressions in every society, worldwide
o Decoding hypothesis: if there are universal emotions, people of different cultures should interpret these expressions in
the same ways
- Ekman and Friesen took 3,000 pictures of different people as they expressed 6 different emotions : anger, disgust, fear, happiness,
sadness, and surprise.
o Ekman, Sorenson, and Friesman then took the most easily identified examples of each emotion, and presented these to
individuals in Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and the U.S.
o Across the 5 cultures, participants achieved accuracy ratings between 80-90%
o Chance guessing would be 16.6%
o Problem: Japan, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile had all seen American media and so were not really representative of
isolated and distinct cultures. They might’ve become familiar with American culture by watching TV and film actors
o To meet this, they went to Papua, New Guinea for 6 months and lived with them (ppl of Fore language who lived in
Stone age conditions). They had no movies or magazines, did not speak English or pidgin (combination of English and a
native language), and had minimal exposure to westerners
o Ekman did the Dashiell method, in which he devised an emotion-appropriate story for each of the 6 emotions. He would
present a story and then a picture that would match it. (chance rating 33%)
o In another task, he videotaped Fore participants as they displayed facial expressions they would show in response to the
emotion-specific story. These were presented to college students in the US
o Fore participants showed accuracy rates of 80-90% in identifying the 6 emotions in Ekman and Friesen’s photos. This
was also true for children shows that you can judge emotions from facial expressions early in development
o US college students correctly interpreted the posed expressions of the Fore, with the exception of fear and surprise
- The implication is that recognition of the 6 facial expressions used in these studies are universal, evolved parts of human nature
Critiques of the studies of universal facial expressions
- Several critiques of the hypothesis of universal facial expressions
1. Gradient critique
o 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. But the results show gradients between recognition of some expression that
are well recognized universally, like happiness, and other expressions such as fear, surprise, and disgust, which are less
well recognized by people in cultures remote from those of the person portraying the expression
2. Forced choice
o In Ekman and Friesman’s study, and many others, participants were forced to label the expressions using the terms
they provided
o To fix this: gather participants’ own descriptions of photos of facial expressions and ascertain whether there is
universality in their free response data.
o Haidt and Keltner (1999) did this in the US and India. They were asked to label photos of 14 different expressions in their
own words. There was evidence that supported the gradient critique. Some expressions were more recognizable than
others. Also evidence to counter the forced choice critique when coded, the freely produced labels revealed that
participants from diff cultures used similar concepts in labeling facial expressions of anger, disgust, fear, happiness,
sadness, surprise, and embarrassment.
o This is possibly why Ekmans and Friesen’s study was so accurate – they made educated guesses
o When did the same test of Ekmans, they added “none of the above” to reduce guessing. But it did not reduce agreement
in judging facial expression
3. Ecological validity
o Perhaps expressions portrayed in Ekman’s studies are not the kinds of expression that people routinely judge in their
everyday lives
o Realistic portrayals?
o Ambadar, Schooler, and Cohn have shown that people are better at recognizing emotional expressions from dynamic
displays (video clips), which come closer to real life conditions
Discovering new facial displays of emotions
- Contempt has been added to the list. It is expressed by an asymmetrical tightening of the lip corners or sneer, and conveys a
moral disapproval of another
- Laughter involving the contraction of the muscle surrounding the eyes also appears to be a signal of distinct emotion, namely
- To document emotional expressions:
o one needs to show that the experience of a specific emotion correlates with a unique pattern of facial actions
o others perceive that display as a sign of the target emotion, preferably diff cultures
o important for evolutionary claims to show that other species show similar expressive behaviors in contexts that resemble
those of the emotion of interest
- It is suggested that there are distinct nonverbal signals for: embarrassment, shame, pride, love, desire, and sympathy **
- Embarrassment is thought of by many as an appeasement-related emotion, which signals the individual’s lower status, in
particular after transgressions, so as to bring about social reconciliation
- To characterize the nonverbal actions of embarrassment, Keltner (1995) chose a task in which participants’ heads would be
stationary so their facial actions could be coded in frame by frame analyses. They had to do muscle by muscle instructions
o Typically, after a 15 second struggle, they got the expression. They were asked to hold this for 10 seconds and then put
to rest. Performing this task resembles a common elicitor of embarrassment loss of physical poise and composure in
front of others
o Created a 2-3 second affective display
First, the embarrassed individual’s eyes went down, within 0.75 seconds. Then the individual turned his head to
the side, typically leftward, and down within the next .5 seconds. During this, they smiled a smile that lasted
about 2 seconds. On onset and offset of smile were other facial actions in the mouth lip sucks, lip presses,
While the person’s head was down and to the left a few curious actions occurred: the person looked up two to
three times with glances and often touched their face
- Is there decoding evidence to show that observers can readily identify this display as embarrassment?
o In one study, participants were presented with 2-3 second long video clips of the embarrassment displays along with
spontaneous displays of other emotions.
o Used a forced choice method, they had to label each expression. They reliably judged the displays as communicating
- To see whether the display of embarrassment may be universal, people from a small town in India were presented with static
photos of the embarrassment display and allowed to interpret the expression with their own words.
o They too cross cultural labeled the display as embarrassment, and readily differentiated between this display and
that of shame, (downward head movements and gaze aversion)
- Do other species show similar, embarrassment-like behavior?
o Keltner and Buswell analyzed approximately 3 dozen studies of appeasement displays of other species