Evolution of Fear and Human Expressions

by Sheela Philomena on  December 27, 2011 at 2:57 PM Research News
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Recent study reveals how fear and other human expressions evolved and then come to signal a person's feelings to the people around him.
 Evolution of Fear and Human Expressions
Evolution of Fear and Human Expressions

The basic idea, according to Azim F. Shariff of the University of Oregon, is that the specific facial expressions associated with each particular emotion evolved for some reason.

Shariff cowrote the paper with Jessica L. Tracy of the University of British Columbia.

Fear helps respond to threat, and the squinched-up nose and mouth of disgust make it harder for you to inhale anything poisonous drifting on the breeze. The outthrust chest of pride increases both testosterone production and lung capacity so you're ready to take on anyone.

Then, as social living became more important to the evolutionary success of certain species, most notably humans, the expressions evolved to serve a social role as well, so a happy face, for example, communicates a lack of threat and an ashamed face communicates your desire to appease.

According to Shariff, the research is based in part on work from the last several decades showing that some emotional expressions are universal, even in remote areas with no exposure to Western media, people know what a scared face and a sad face look like.

This type of evidence makes it unlikely that expressions were social constructs, invented in Western Europe, which then spread to the rest of the world.

It's not just across cultures, but across species.

"We seem to share a number of similar expressions, including pride, with chimpanzees and other apes," Shariff said.

The theory that emotional facial expressions evolved as a physiological part of the response to a particular situation has been somewhat controversial in psychology, another article in the same issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science argues that the evidence on how emotions evolved is not conclusive.

Shariff and Tracy agree that more research is needed to support some of their claims, but that,

"A lot of what we're proposing here would not be all that controversial to other biologists.

"The specific concepts of 'exaptation' and 'ritualization' that we discuss are quite common when discussing the evolution of non-human animals," Shariff added.

The study has been published in Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Source: ANI

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This article is deceptive. By clever wording it gives the impression that Evolution is a fact and we are then trying to explain how fear "evolved". The readers are distracted by the second premise that they swallow the first by stealth - this is pathetic. “Evolution” is a vague word. Micro evolution is minor changes within a species, this is real and observable and uncontested. The conflict pertains to Darwinian/Macro evolution which asserts that: 1] All living things had a common ancestor. This implies that your great….. great grandfather was a self replicating molecule. 2) The observable world has come into existence by totally natural, unguided processes and specifically WITHOUT the involvement of an intelligent designer. Do a YouTube search on “kansas evolution hearings” to hear real, credible scientists, present powerful arguments which debunk Darwinian/Macro evolution. Dr John Sanford [Geneticists and inventor of the GeneGun) said . ” The bottom line is that the primary axiom [of Darwinian/Macro evolution] is categorically false, you can't create information with misspellings, not even if you use natural selection.” Consider a quotation from New Scientist magazine in an article “Survival of the fittest theory: Darwinism's limits” 03 February 2010 by Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini “Much of the vast neo-Darwinian literature is distressingly uncritical. The possibility that anything is seriously amiss with Darwin's account of evolution is hardly considered. Such dissent as there is often relies on theistic premises which Darwinists rightly say have no place in the evaluation of scientific theories. So onlookers are left with the impression that there is little or nothing about Darwin's theory to which a scientific naturalist could reasonably object. The methodological scepticism that characterises most areas of scientific discourse seems strikingly absent when Darwinism is the topic.”


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