Emotion and Facial Expression

Topics: Paul Ekman, Emotion, Psychology Pages: 4 (1227 words) Published: October 8, 2009
Emotion and Facial Expression
Neither emotion nor it is expression are concepts universally embraced by psychologists. The term "expression" implies the existence of something that is expressed. Some psychologists deny that there is really any specific organic state that corresponds to our naive ideas about human emotions; thus, its expression is a non sequitur. Other psychologists think that the behaviors referenced by the term "expression" are part of an organized emotional response, and thus, the term "expression" captures these behaviors' role less adequately than a reference to it as an aspect of the emotion reaction. Still other psychologists think that facial expressions have primarily a communicative function and convey something about intentions or internal state, and they find the connotation of the term "expression" useful. Regardless of approach, certain facial expressions are associated with particular human emotions. Research shows that people categorize emotion faces in a similar way across cultures, that similar facial expressions tend to occur in response to particular emotion eliciting events, and that people produce simulations of emotion faces that are characteristic of each specific emotion. Despite some unsettled theoretical implications of these findings, a consensus view is that in studies of human emotions, it is often useful to know what facial expressions correspond to each specific emotion, and the answer is summarized briefly below. To match a facial expression with an emotion implies knowledge of the categories of human emotions into which expressions can be assigned. For millennia, scholars have speculated about categories of emotion, and recent scientific research has shown that facial expressions can be assigned reliably to about seven categories, though many other categories of human emotions are possible and used by philosophers, scientists, actors, and others concerned with emotion. The recent development...
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