Adam Anderson

An ASI Monthly Speaker Series Event

April 26, 2012, 3-5pm: Adam Anderson, The Affect and Cognition Laboratory, Psychology, University of Toronto.

Title: Opposition in facial expression form and function.

Abstract: Facial expressions are instrumental in externalizing one’s internal emotional state and thus in regulating social interactions. Darwin hypothesized that emotional expressions originated in a less appreciated functional role to modify preparedness for perception and action. We provide evidence for two of Darwin’ original principles of emotional expressive behavior in humans: 1) the principle of function— expressions serve adaptive functions for the sender, and 2) the principle of form— expressions with opposite functions are opposites in form. Specifically, we show facial expressions afford a primitive sensory regulatory opposition to increase or decrease sensory intake. We further provide evidence for the exaptation or co-opting of expression opposition for the purposes of social regulation and its use across cultures from the East and West. These convergent sources of evidence suggest facial expressions are not distinct classes, as suggested by Darwin’s modern interpreters, but rather arise from opposing dimensions potentially originating from a primitive sensory regulatory function.  

Location: Henderson Executive Suite, 450 Dodge Hall. [Maps, Directions, and Parking]

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