Was Darwin Wrong About Emotions?

Charles Darwin, ‰ÛÏNatural Selection‰Û?Via ScienceDaily:

Contrary to what many psychological scientists think, people do not all have the same set of biologically “basic” emotions, and those emotions are not automatically expressed on the faces of those around us, according to the author of a new article published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.

This means a recent move to train security workers to recognize “basic” emotions from expressions might be misguided.”What I decided to do in this paper is remind readers of the evidence that runs contrary to the view that certain emotions are biologically basic, so that people scowl only when they’re angry or pout only when they’re sad,” says Lisa Feldman Barrett of Northeastern University, the author of the new paper.

The commonly-held belief is that certain facial muscle movements (called expressions) evolved to express certain mental states and prepare the body to react in stereotyped ways to certain situations. For example, widening the eyes when you’re scared might help you take in more information about the scene, while also signaling to the people around you that something dangerous is happening …

Read more here.

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  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    its an aspect of social evolution mistaken for biological evolution. When society rips apart at the seams,  these are the sorts of standards that crumble first

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    its an aspect of social evolution mistaken for biological evolution. When society rips apart at the seams,  these are the sorts of standards that crumble first

    • Anarchy Pony

      Indeed.

  • DeepCough

    “Emotions” essentially are a cultural construct, they don’t have anything to do with Darwin.

  • DeepCough

    “Emotions” essentially are a cultural construct, they don’t have anything to do with Darwin.

    • rtb61

      Emotions a reflection of brain states due to physiological conditions, they are real and genetically based around promoting survival of the social groups. Expression of emotions is of course learned of course reaction to those expressed emotions when recognised is autonomic, a built in requirement of any social species.
      Whilst there are people who lack that autonomic empathic response to the expressed emotions of others, they are genetic aberrations.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        It could be a psychological aberration as well. Darwin has a fine model, but it should not be taken any farther than reason requires or you run the risk of becoming a new dogma.

      • DeepCough

        “Whilst there are people who lack that autonomic empathic response to the
        expressed emotions of others, they are genetic aberrations.”

        Tread carefully there, bro, because connecting genetics to character traits smacks of Eugenics.

        • Guesty

          … No? Connection “desired” genetic constructs to “desirable” character traits and striving to maximize those while minimizing all those other unclean fellows smacks of eugenics.

          Stating that some people are genetically sociopathic or psychopathic and that they lack built in empathy is just conjecture. Fairly much like saying some people are blond and some people brunettes. Although, I guess, calling them aberrations ‘is’ cutting it rather close to “undesirables!”.

          Interesting though, beyond the terrible (neo)nazi implications, what’s, strictly speaking, so dreadful about the idea of eugenics?

          • DeepCough

            Why don’t you step into the “shower” and you tell me.

        • rtb61

          It was Eugenics when the 1% abuse the principle to attack the 99%, it’s called enlightened self defence the other way round, seriously.

    • Simiantongue

      Stephen Pinker addresses that in his book “The Blank Slate”. It’s an interesting read.

      I’ve always had the idea that emotions are genetically inherent, there has been lots of work done on that in evolutionary psychology, both in humans and animals too. But at the same time emotions are also malleable to environment. Those two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

  • Anonymous

    Emotions a reflection of brain states due to physiological conditions, they are real and genetically based around promoting survival of the social groups. Expression of emotions is of course learned of course reaction to those expressed emotions when recognised is autonomic, a built in requirement of any social species.
    Whilst there are people who lack that autonomic empathic response to the expressed emotions of others, they are genetic aberrations.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    It could be a psychological aberration as well. Darwin has a fine model, but it should not be taken any farther than reason requires or you run the risk of becoming a new dogma.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    It could be a psychological aberration as well. Darwin has a fine model, but it should not be taken any farther than reason requires or you run the risk of becoming a new dogma.

  • Simiantongue

    Stephen Pinker addresses that in his book “The Blank Slate”. It’s an interesting read.

    I’ve always had the idea that emotions are genetically inherent, there has been lots of work done on that in evolutionary psychology, both in humans and animals too. But at the same time emotions are also malleable to environment. Those two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

  • DeepCough

    “Whilst there are people who lack that autonomic empathic response to the
    expressed emotions of others, they are genetic aberrations.”

    Tread carefully there, bro, because connecting genetics to character traits smacks of Eugenics.

  • Guesty

    … No? Connection “desired” genetic constructs to “desirable” character traits and striving to maximize those while minimizing all those other unclean fellows smacks of eugenics.

    Stating that some people are genetically sociopathic or psychopathic and that they lack built in empathy is just conjecture. Fairly much like saying some people are blond and some people brunettes. Although, I guess, calling them aberrations ‘is’ cutting it rather close to “undesirables!”.

    Interesting though, beyond the terrible (neo)nazi implications, what’s, strictly speaking, so dreadful about the idea of eugenics?

  • Guesty

    … No? Connection “desired” genetic constructs to “desirable” character traits and striving to maximize those while minimizing all those other unclean fellows smacks of eugenics.

    Stating that some people are genetically sociopathic or psychopathic and that they lack built in empathy is just conjecture. Fairly much like saying some people are blond and some people brunettes. Although, I guess, calling them aberrations ‘is’ cutting it rather close to “undesirables!”.

    Interesting though, beyond the terrible (neo)nazi implications, what’s, strictly speaking, so dreadful about the idea of eugenics?

  • DeepCough

    Why don’t you step into the “shower” and you tell me.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Indeed.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Indeed.

  • rantorum

    We can’t pretend to even understand the complexity of emotions and their relationships with our memories, genetics, and environment considering all the variables there are. We can only know that there are so many variables. To say that all people open their eyes when they’re scared or even that we know why certain emotional expressions and gestures were acquired evolutionarily is sort of bold and simplistic. And as culture is so complex and there are so many subcultures and variants of subcultures, on top of the bank of a given person’s own memory and genetics, how are we supposed to understand emotional responses in any accurate way until we can fully understand EVERYTHING? I’m not crazy, I swear.

  • rantorum

    We can’t pretend to even understand the complexity of emotions and their relationships with our memories, genetics, and environment considering all the variables there are. We can only know that there are so many variables. To say that all people open their eyes when they’re scared or even that we know why certain emotional expressions and gestures were acquired evolutionarily is sort of bold and simplistic. And as culture is so complex and there are so many subcultures and variants of subcultures, on top of the bank of a given person’s own memory and genetics, how are we supposed to understand emotional responses in any accurate way until we can fully understand EVERYTHING? I’m not crazy, I swear.

  • Anonymous

    It was Eugenics when the 1% abuse the principle to attack the 99%, it’s called enlightened self defence the other way round, seriously.

  • FactAsRed

    Anyway, ” Psychology ” is not a science, its only a mere ” Discipline ”, lost in the ocean of philosophy . . .

  • FactAsRed

    Anyway, ” Psychology ” is not a science, its only a mere ” Discipline ”, lost in the ocean of philosophy . . .