A face doesn’t speak for itself


It is common sense — espoused by “Sesame Street” and psychology textbooks alike — that humans have distinct emotions, each with characteristic expressions. When you’re angry, you furrow your brow and yell. When you’re sad, you frown and cry. Charles Darwin hypothesized that human emotions have evolved just as physical features have, and the psychologist Paul Ekman, known for his work on microexpressions, has traveled the world showing that people everywhere recognize the same facial movements as expressing the same emotions — anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise.

A few psychologists, including Lisa Barrett of Northeastern University, are upending this view. In two new papers, she and her collaborators test the notion of universal emotional expression among a group of people living in a remote region of Namibia. Their results, showing big cultural differences in emotional recognition, have strong implications for therapy, the law, business and even national security.

Read the whole story: Aljazeera

See Paul Ekman at the 26th APS Annual Convention.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.
In the interest of transparency, we do not accept anonymous comments.
Required fields are marked*