Social Psychology Lecture 5 Nonverbal Communication of Emotion Facial Expressions of Emotion Jane Clarbour (2003) Room: PS/BOO7 Email: jc129 Objectives • Give an account of Darwin’s theory of the facial expressions of emotion. • Describe cross-cultural studies of the recognition of facial expressions of emotion. • Demonstrate an understanding of Ekman’s neuro-cultural model. • Give an account of neuropsychological evidence relevant to Ekman’s model. • Evaluate criticisms of the neuro-cultural model. Facial expressions – Assumptions • Certain facial expressions of emotion are innate • If emotions are expressed similarly regardless of culture or situation it suggests that facial expressions are important guides to emotion – Alternatively • Facial expression is contextual social indicator of behavioral intent Theoretical conflict • Universalist – Same facial movement is associated with same emotion universally (innate) • Relativist – Facial expressions are learned within each culture Slide 1: What emotion is this? Slide 2: The innate hypothesis DARWIN (1872) proposed that the facial expression of emotion evolved as part of the actions necessary for life: • Anger: – Frowning • to protect eyes in anticipation of attack Surprise • Eyebrows raised – to open the eyes wide to facilitate sight • Mouth opens – to draw in air quickly to put the body in a state of readiness Fear Movements similar to surprise but more tense –Raised eyebrows –Open mouth • Fear was more problematic for Darwin. – Conflict between readiness + protection Disgust • Lip movements are related to expelling offensive matter from the mouth. – By-products lip movement include: • Nose wrinkling movements • Lines below lower eyelid and raising lower eyelid • Cheek raising Happiness & sadness • Happiness – Smiling - raised corners of the mouth • Sadness – Upturned inner corners of the eyebrows Ekman and Friesen (1976) faces Happiness Fear Surprise Sadness Disgust Anger Neurocultural model (Ekman, 1972) Ekman suggests both innate and social learning views are correct • Facial affect programme – Firing of facial muscles (neurologically controlled) • Direct (without need for cognition – Modular) • Separate programmes for fight or flight • Partly innate/universal • Influenced by cultural norms – Learned (vary by culture) Interactions • Display rules mediate neural impulses – Display rules prevent activation of facial affect program – Display rules prevent triggering of facial muscles – Reduce the output of the display – Make the display shorter/substitute alternative display Display Rules • Learned habits about controlling the appearance of the face (Ekman, 1972) – Cultural research suggests 6 basic emotions, with innate facial expression. – Modifiable by cultural display rules • Attenuation – (weakening) • Amplification – (exaggerating) • Concealment – (masking) • Substitution – (exchange) Evidence from Cross-Cultural Studies EKMAN et al (1972) • review of studies in literate cultures EKMAN & FRIESEN (1971) • And illiterate cultures – Shows similarity of labels of expression regardless of culture • • • • • • Anger Fear Surprise Disgust Happiness Sadness Evidence for neuro-cultural model Ekman, Friesen & Malstrom (1972) Showed 25 American and 25 Japanese Ss a neutral and a stress-inducing film (a circumcision) 1. Watching film on own (unknowingly taped) – Both groups displayed same facial expressions 2. Interviewed by member of own culture – Group differences in facial displays used when discussing with peers (Cited in Ekman, Freisen, & Ellsworth, 1972) Support of Ekman’s neuro-cultural model Neuropsychological evidence Deaf and blind studies • Rinn (1991) Congenitally blind – when asked to pose basic emotions were judged as less proficient than sighted Ss (fear, anger, surprise, disgust) – No difference for humour • Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1973) Congenitally deafblind showed same basic repertoire of spontaneous facial expression as ‘normal’ controls Neuropsychological evidence (Rinn, 1991) • Separate control systems – Sub-cortical system • • • • Spontaneous facial expression Sub cortical Bottom-up ‘reflexive’ expression Universal – Cortical system • Mediates voluntary system (display rules) • Controlled • Top-down ‘contrived’ expression Facial paralysis: evidence for 2 systems • Subcortical system – Cases of paralysis of volitional facial movement • can’t move the paralysed side when told to smile, but can still smile spontaneously on the paralysed side when find something funny • Cortical system – Cases of paralysis of spontaneous facial expression • can control facial movement, but only when told Criticisms of the neurocultural model (1) RUSSELL (1991) • Language used to describe emotion is not universal • Identification of facial expressions from a limited range of emotion categories overestimates universality – Obscures subtle (but sig.) differences between cultures’ emotion descriptors Criticisms of methodology (Russell, 1994) • Forced choice method supports neuro-culture model Happy Sad Contempt Disgust Fear Angry BUT… • Free choice of label for the emotion does not support universality – Ekman should have shown photo and let his subjects choose the emotion they were displaying Alternative interpretation (Fridlund, 1994) • Japanese smiled out of politeness to interviewer (graduate student) • Japanese custom to smile when addressed (especially by an authority) • Less rude for Americans to watch film when addressed Behavioural Ecology View (Fridlund,1994) Alternative model • Facial displays are simply messages that display behavioural intent – Why 6 or 7 ‘basic’ emotions plus ‘blends’? • Facial displays depend upon social context – Manifestations of social intent Behavioural ecology reinterpretation • Anger displays: – Readiness to attack • Leaked anger/inhibited anger (ie.Ekman): – Conflict about anger (I want to attack, but I don’t want to..) • Contempt face: – Declaration of superiority (I can’t even bother with you) • Sad face: – Take care of me/hold me • Happy face: – Readiness to play/ lets be friends Developmental approach • • • • Differential emotions theory Cognitive/constructivist approach Attachment theory Social referencing Differential Emotions Theory (Izard & Malatesta, 1987) • 9 basic emotions: – Interest, joy, sadness, surprise, anger, disgust, contempt, fear & shame • 3 components of emotion: – Neural – Motor-expressive – Mental 3 components of basic emotions (Izard & Malatesta, 1987) • Neural: – Each is linked to a particular neural substratum • Motor-expressive: – Each is expressed in a distinct manner • Mental: – Each comprises a specific ‘feeling’ Cognitive/Constructionist Approach I • Sroufe (1979) – Affect = undifferentiated states of distress/non-distress – Progressive development into differentiated emotions – Cognition acts as central mechanism Cognitive development classes of emotion Campos & Barrett (1987) • 3 classes of emotion: 1) Primordial: fear and disgust 2) Concurrent goal: anger and sadness (linked to environmental goals) 3) social: shame, guilt, envy and pride Attachment theory • Attachment theorists suggest smiling and crying are innate behaviours whose prime function is communication – Crying signals distress to gain attention – Smiling signals maintenance of attention • Not always possible to conceal facial expression of emotion Summary • Ekman – Universality of 6 basic emotions – Culturally specific displays • Studies of blind children – Blind children also show same facial expression even when no opportunity for social learning • Behavioral ecology view – separates emotion from facial displays Behavioural Ecology View: Criticisms of basic emotions • Innate basic emotions view doesn’t adequately account for ‘blends’ • No need to account for false/felt displays as all displays arise out of social interaction • Facial displays do not have to equate to the experienced emotion Questions to think about… • What evidence is there for universal facial expression? • What is likely to be more influential: – Evolutionary, innate function of emotion? – Cultural, learned basis of display rules? • Are babies born socially adept? – Do they learn to smile to gain attention? – At what age can babies interpret other’s emotion? • Are there separate modular systems of affect? • What comes first, cognition or emotion?