Contempt Expression Relativity Thesis

Contempt Expression Relativity Thesis-59
The subject was then asked to choose from among three photographs of faces the one that best expressed that emotion.

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[23] In addition, as Turke notes, "evolutionary psychologists pay little attention to the findings of neural scientists that demonstrate that the structure of the brain remains plastic at all stages of life." [24] Robert Turner and Charles Whitehead cite studies using f MRI and MEG (magnetoencephalography) imaging to show that the very "functional anatomy and microstructure of the brain" are "shaped by experience."[25] New approaches to the biology of heredity also suggest that contemporary human beings are unlikely to harbor stone-age minds. Lamb persuasively argue that evolution selects for plasticity, for "the capacity to adjust in response to conditions."[26] Our current environment affects gene expression and in some instances (in very simple organisms and at specialized cell levels) induces non-random mutations in genes.[27] Most importantly, much of human evolution has nothing to do with genes: cellular, behavioral, and symbolic inheritance systems are epigenetic.

Adaptive evolution through these mechanisms-which are ongoing-is far more rapid than genetic evolution.

Genetic researcher Catherine Hayes and her colleagues, meanwhile, found that carriers of the Huntington's disease (HD) gene were impaired in the facial expression of disgust.[5] Similarly, Marco Battaglia and his co-researchers associated certain genetic variations with the variable ability of young children to correctly interpret "other children's facial expressions of emotions."[6] It is true that some neurobiological and genetic studies have nothing to do with facial expressions.

However, this does not obviate their generally universalizing tendencies.[7] Almost all such studies are also inclined to be "presentist"; they suggest that today's emotions were the emotions of the past and will remain those of the future.[8] Evolutionary psychologists have the potential to challenge this view.

Briefly, this theory holds that emotions-how they are experienced, expressed, and interpreted-are shaped by the societies in which they are embedded.[29] The idea is an offshoot of cognitive psychology, which sees emotions as types of appraisals.[30] Although few cognitivists work on the topic, their theories show that it is possible-indeed likely-for different cultures to encourage different sorts of emotional assessments.

Contempt Expression Relativity Thesis Life Story Essay Example

This idea is taken to its logical conclusion by social constructionists like Sarah Tarlow, for whom emotions are "unbounded, existing only through cultural meaning, culturally specific, and subject to transformation or disappearance through time."[31] In fact, however, even social constructionists rarely look at emotions' historical dimensions.Each module represents an adaptation by hunter-gatherers to relatively simple and constantly recurring demands: "finding mates, hunting animals, gathering plant foods, negotiating with friends, defending ourselves against aggression, raising children, choosing a good habitat, and so on ...Those whose circuits were better designed for solving these problems left more children, and we are descended from them." [12] Cosmides and Tooby assume that the human mind has not changed since this period; people had no time to adapt to the conditions-relatively populous and permanent communities-of the Neolithic and subsequent periods.When Sorenson showed Ekman's photographs to Fore subjects and asked them to name an emotion directly from the appearance of the face, "many displayed uncertainty, hesitation and confusion.Some were completely tongue-tied; others trembled and perspired profusely or looked wildly about."[16] A table providing the results of this interrogation shows that the Fore subjects who had had the least contact with Westerners gave many "wrong" responses.If emotions are, as many scientists think, biological entities, universal within all human populations, do they-indeed can they-have much of a history at all?Once it is determined that they are less universal than claimed (without denying their somatic substratum), a host of problems and opportunities for the history of emotions emerge.For example, all respondents used the equivalents of the words "anger" or "happiness" to describe the face intended to demonstrate disgust.The same was true for the "sadness" face.[17] That Ekman's method produced more positive results may be due to the fact that it was a "forced choice" test.[18] Some psychologists note that the faces in Ekman's photographs do not show spontaneous, real-life emotions, but rather are posed.[28] These observations give ballast to the idea that emotions may change over time and that a history of the emotions is not only possible, but essential to understanding the human condition.Social constructionism has the potential to second this conclusion.


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