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Universality of Facial Expressions

Are facial expressions the same in every culture?

Antoni Czerwiński

on 30 October 2012

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Transcript of Universality of Facial Expressions

Facial expressions are the motions of muscles in the face which are meant to show a certain emotion. Universality of Facial Expressions By Antoni Ryszard Czerwiński Since facial expressions are tied with emotion, they are usually involuntary. However, humans are one of the only animals which can adopt fake facial expressions. The other animals are dogs. What are facial expressions? Are facial expressions universal? Since facial expressions are a nonverbal form of communication, they do not form a barrier between cultures like language. If you go to eg. Thailand and don't speak Thai, it's going to be hard for you to show your emotions.
If you smile, everyone will know:
"K̄heā mī khwām s̄uk̄h" After thorough studies, psychologists around the world have determined there are 6 facial expressions which are recognised practically anywhere in the world. This is known as Ekman's Universality Hypothesis, as it was formed by Paul Ekman, a XX century psychologist. Happiness Eyebrows raised Muscles around eyes tightened Cheeks raised Corners of mouth raised Surprise Eyebrows arched Eyes widely open Hanging lower jaw Anger Lips pressed firmly together or revealing teeth Nose bridge wrinkled Eyebrows lowered Sadness Eyes partially or fully closed Eyebrows raised on the inside, lowered on the outside Mouth open or closed; either way the outer corners are pulled down Fear Eyes bulged Eyebrows pulled slightly up and together Mouth open or otherwise stretched Disgust Corners of eyebrows pulled down Eyes partially or fully closed Nose wrinkled Corners of mouth lowered Usually, upper lip pulled up; teeth exposed ^.^ Emoticons!! :D Emoticons are a series of computer characters used to send facial expressions over messages, such as text messages or instant chat. There are two types of emoticons Regular emoticons Originated in 1982 in the US. They were made by Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist, who sent an email to his boss at Carnegie Mellon University, in which he wrote:

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes,
given current trends. For this, use

:-( The concept was quickly published and spread around the world. They are always images read sideways, where the signs used look like real facial expressions. :) or :-) looks like a smile, and thus represents happiness
:( looks like a frown, and thus represents sadness
:D looks like a big smile, and thus represents enormous happiness
>:( looks like a snarl, and thus represents anger The more signs used repetitively, the stronger is the emotion sent. :) = happy
:))))))) = very happy

D: = very sad
DDDDDDD: = extremely sad

<3 = heart (love)
<33333333 = lots of love Straight-on emoticons Created by Japanese internet users, in order to minimise the need to tilt your head. Follow the format of:
x = character used to represent eyes
z = character used to represent mouth
y = any optional additional characters (often represent objects) They look like real faces!
(^.^) or (^_^) = happy
(-_-) = indifferent
(T_T) = crying
b(^.^)d = two thumbs up! Often, the parentheses are simply left out.
^.^ or just ^^ = happy
-_- = indifferent
etc. They are also used to portray animals
@(*o*)@ = koala
=('.')= = cat In Korea, straight-on emoticons are made through the usage of the Korean Hangul alphabet. Discussion questions If Paul Ekman carried out his study by asking people to forcefully (not naturally) show what they look like under the influence of certain emotions, is his study fully valid and generalisable? Which type of emoticons do you think is better (more effective and universal) - standard or straight-on? Do you think there are other universal facial expressions? Are facial expressions a form of communication more or less effective than language? Works cited Hung, Daniel D., and Heji Kim. "Six Universal Expressions." Six Universal Expressions. NBB Cornell, 20 Apr. 1996. Web. 27 Oct. 2012. <http://www.nbb.cornell.edu/neurobio/land/oldstudentprojects/cs490-95to96/hjkim/emotions.html>.
Shuback, Jeremy, and Scott McCloud. "The Six Fundamental Facial Expressions." Web log post. The Six Fundamental Facial Expressions | Jeremy Shuback . Com. N.p., 23 June 2009. Web. 27 Oct. 2012. <http://jeremyshuback.com/the-six-fundamental-facial-expressions/>.
"Facial Expression." Facial Expression - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_expression>.
"The Seven Basic Emotions: Do You Know Them?" Web log post. The Seven Basic Emotions: Do You Know Them? Humintell, 24 June 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2012. <http://www.humintell.com/2010/06/the-seven-basic-emotions-do-you-know-them/>.
"About Ekman." About Ekman « Paul Ekman. Paul Ekman Group, 2011. Web. 27 Oct. 2012. <http://www.paulekman.com/about-ekman/>.
"Smileys and Emoticons." Smileys, Emoticons, Japanese Smileys (...), ASCII Art (...). Netlingo, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2012. <http://www.netlingo.com/smileys.php>.
"Emoticon." Emoticon - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, 27 Oct. 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoticon>.
Kamieński, Jakub. Zajecia "Sceny," Grupa "Bezimienne Dzielo," Ognisko Teatralne u Machulskich, Warszawa, Polska. 14 Oct. 2012. Did you notice that 4 of the 6 universal emotions are negative, and only 1 is positive? Why do you think it's like that? The longer the mouth, the more emotion is shown through the emoticon:
(^_^) = happy
(^_______^) = very happy
(T_T) = sad
(T_______T) = extremely sad They quickly spread around Asia, and then were adapted in the rest of the world. However, since both types of emoticons are used to show universal facial expressions (eg. "happiness" is shown by characteristics of smiling in both :) and (^.^)), they are all universal. Straight-on emoticons are more flexible and real-looking than regular ones.
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