• At birth, and infant can is capable of expressing joy, interest, disgust, and pain. By two months,
they can express anger and sadness, by six months they can express fear.
• In the absence of verbal expression, nonverbal displays of emotions signal inner states, moods,
and needs. The lower half of the face may be more important that the upper half of the face in
• The display of emotions alters behaviours in observers; people tend to avoid those who look
angry and approach those who look happy or in need of comfort.
• Emotions provide information to others as to how people are feeling and, in addition, can
prompt them to respond in accordance with others’ wants and needs.
Facial Expressions across Cultures
! Darwin argues that the face innately communicates emotion to others and that these communications are
understandable by all people, regardless of culture.
! Some facial expressions are universal, and therefore likely to be biologically based.
Display Rules and Gender
• Display rules govern how and when emotions are exhibited.
• There are gender differences in display rules that guide emotional expression, particularly for
smiling and crying. It is generally believed that women more readily, frequently, easily, and
intensely display emotions; except for emotions related to dominance.
• The emotions most closely associated with women are those related to care giving, nurturance
and interpersonal relationships, whereas emotions associated with men are related to
competitiveness, dominance, and defensiveness.
• Although women are more likely to display emotion does not mean that they actually experience
emotions more intensely.
Emotions Serve Cognitive Functions
• People’s moods can alter ongoing mental processes. When people are in good moods they tend
to make decisions more quickly and efficiently.
• Positive moods also facilitate creative, elaborate responses to challenging problems and
• Increased dopamine levels mediate the effects of positive affect on cognitive tasks.
• Heightened activation of dopamine receptors in brain areas is crucial for the advantageous
cognitive effects of positive affect.