“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The 'language' of emotion




Paul Ekman, in an interview here, traces the path that led him to his famous tabulation of emotions articulated in a universal “language” of facial expressions. It was a path composed of two parts. One was Cold War circumstance: like many a human sciences researcher in the fifties and the sixties, Ekman was able to pretty easily squeeze money out of the Defense Department for his project, which was to go to “an isolated area of New Guinea” and film ‘stone age’ people. The point of the filming – and this is the intellectual path – was to settle a dispute between the Boasians – Margaret Meade and Gregory Bateson – and the Darwinians – which were represented by Silvan Tomkins. Tomkins claimed that emotional expression on the face was innate, so that smiling, for instance, meant the same thing across humankind. Tomkins theory was a bit more complicated than is allowed by the term “expression”, since, in a gesture to the James-Lange hypothesis, he believed that the face fedback emotion – smiling not only is a universal expression of happiness, but a happiness-maker. In Ekman’s essay on Sylvan Tomkins in Exploring Effect, he repeats the claim that, as far as he knew, Tomkins was unique in his empirical research about the face, although he concedes that other researchers had tried and failed in using photos of expression to evoke, in random, unconnected observers, responses that read the expression. What is odd, here, is that, of course, there was a whole science, or pseudo-science, that made very strong claims about the face: physiognomy.

Of course, there is a reason for that: physiognomy was associated, in the sixties, with racial science. With the measuring of noses, foreheads and ears by Nazi doctors. Although behind those Nazi doctors was the revival of physiognomy in the Weimar era – as the Sinngebung der Sinnlose, as Theodore Lessing put it – that was pursued not just on the right, but on the left as well. Lessing, like his friend Ludwig Klages, was fascinated by physiology, but unlike Klages, he leaned left, being a well known socialist and fellow traveler of the Marxists. Rudolf Kassner had his own philosophical mystical physiognomik. All were influenced by the romantics. But all differed in that they rid themselves of the demon of analogy that insisted on macrocosmic meanings in the microsphere. Physiognomy assumed an atomic emotional base, but its main goal was to read temperament from the face. How that temperament is imprinted on the face is the question.

It is worth reproducing Ekman’s list of the points the Tomkins facial theory, since my next post is going to be about Ekman:

· The face is central to emotion and has priority over visceral changes because of its speed, visibility and precision.
· The face informs the self, not just others. Feedback of the facial response is the experience of the affect.
· Emotion is guided by innate inherited programs.
· We learn the language of the face partly through correspondence between what a face looks like and what it feels like.
· Every face has a predominant expression which shines through poses and spontaneous expressions
· Individual differences in the interpretation of facial expression reflect the personality of the perceiver, which resulted in the idea of examining affect sensitivity contours.
· Particular emotions are commonly confused because of shared neurophysiology, shared situational contexts, response overlap and the likelihood of occurring together.”

We are gonna do a couple of posts about this.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Talking Heads, Seen and Not Seen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfQSYCIcaNo&feature=related

northanger said...

AO 43 = TRACES THE PATH (AO-60 UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE, AO-62 WHAT [A FACE] FEELS LIKE, AO-62 WHAT IT FEELS LIKE, AO-89 THE 'LANGUAGE' OF EMOTION, AO-95 FEEDBACK OF THE FACIAL RESPONSE, AO-95 INNATE INHERITED PROGRAMS, AO-95 MARGARET MEADE AND GREGORY BATESON, AO-95 TALKING HEADS, SEEN AND NOT SEEN, AO-107 TIMELINE OF MARS EXPLORATION, AO-107 UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF EMOTION, AO-107 VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS, AO-114 THE MUNICIPAL REFORM OF 2007, AO-114 RESPONSES THAT READ THE EXPRESSION, AO-124 INVERSE TRIGONOMETRIC FUNCTION) = THE FACE ON MARS (AO-66 BARBURY CASTLE CROP CIRCLE, AO-66 CYDONIA PLANITIA, AO-66 FACIAL EXPRESSIONS; AO-62 CYDONIA REGION, AO-62 PENTAGONAL VECTORS).

AO 29 = FACE ON MARS = PAUL EKMAN = ARCTANGENT = HOZRO (AO-84 FIRE IN THE HEAD, PAGE 73, AO-84 THE FACE INFORMS THE SELF).

AO 33 = BORNHOLM (AO-72 KEY TO THE SACRED PATTERN) = KEY MEASURE.

AO 52 = NAVOJO HOZRO = 33 DEGREE ANGLE (AO-126 THE TETRAHEDRAL WORLD OF WASHINGTON D.C., AO-126 VIKING BIOLOGICAL EXPERIMENTS [+]; AO 53 CYDONIA QUEST, AO 53 GREGORY BATESON, AO 53 HAPPINESS-MAKER, AO 53 PSEUDO-SCIENCE, AO 53 SILVAN TOMKINS) = 60 DEGREE ANGLE = RICHARD HOAGLAND = TETHER SATELLITE (AO-13 STS-75).

AO 82 = TABULATION OF EMOTIONS = BARBURY TRIANGLE CROP CIRCLE.

AO 567 = PARTICULAR EMOTIONS ARE COMMONLY CONFUSED BECAUSE OF SHARED NEUROPHYSIOLOGY, SHARED SITUATIONAL CONTEXTS, RESPONSE OVERLAP AND THE LIKELIHOOD OF OCCURRING TOGETHER = THESE GENERAL CONCEPTS APPEAR HERE FIRST OF ALL IN THE NEGROID FORM AS OBJECTIVE SPIRITS HAVING FOR PEOPLE THE CHARACTER OF OBJECTS, AND AT THIS LEVEL ARE CALLED SPECTERS OR—APPARATIONS!

AO 269 = HIGH SHIELD, HALF THE POWER, VERONICA WITH THE CLOTH. SIMON IS LOOKING = REICHSMINISTERIUM FÜR VOLKSAUFKLÄRUNG UND PROPAGANDA OR PROPAGANDAMINISTERIUM = SPECTERS OF MARX: THE STATE OF THE DEBT, THE WORK OF MOURNING, & THE NEW INTERNATIONAL.

AO 224 = HOW THAT TEMPERAMENT IS IMPRINTED ON THE FACE IS THE QUESTION = THE FACE IS CENTRAL TO EMOTION AND HAS PRIORITY OVER VISCERAL CHANGES.

AO 209 = FEEDBACK OF THE FACIAL RESPONSE IS THE EXPERIENCE OF THE AFFECT = WE LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF THE FACE PARTLY THROUGH CORRESPONDENCE.

AO 183 = MINISTRY FOR POPULAR ENLIGHTENMENT AND PROPAGANDA = SHINES THROUGH POSES AND SPONTANEOUS EXPRESSIONS = 14º SAGITTARIUS (254): THE GREAT PYRAMID AND THE SPHINX = 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 693 = 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939 = 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 69399 = CHALLENGING AN ALLEGED 'LACK OF ALTERITY' IN LOCAL JOURNEYS = CREATION HYPERHOLOGRAPH: THE DIVINE PROLOGUE = FUNDAMENTAL PROPOSITION OF HISTORICAL MATERIALISM = IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH = PRELIMINARY THESES TOWARD REFORM OF PHILOSOPHY = REIFICATION AND THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE PROLETARIAT = THE MATERIAL CONDITIONS TO BLOW THIS BASIS SKY-HIGH = TRANSFORMATIONAL METHOD OF REVERSING SUBJECT AND PREDICATE = VOICE TRICKLING SWEETER THAN HONEY AND HONEYCOMB.

AO 181 = ARTICULATED IN A UNIVERSAL “LANGUAGE” OF FACIAL EXPRESSIONS = SYSTEM OF DIRECTIONAL LINES, ORTHOGONAL AND DIAGONAL (AO-72 KEY TO THE SACRED PATTERN) = ADVOCATED THE IMPORTANCE OF TECHNOLOGICAL EDUCATION = ATTEMPT TO DECIPHER THE ENIGMA OF GIFT-GIVING = FULL OF CONCEPTUAL CHOICES THAT PULL AGAINST EACH OTHER = MARX'S EMBRACE OF MATERIALISM SETS HIM POLES APART FROM HEGEL = THE DELICATE BED OF PEITHO WHO BRINGS MARRIAGE TO PASS.

AO 179 = AN ANALYSIS OF HENRY LINCOLN'S PENTACLE OF MOUNTAINS = THE MEASURING OF NOSES, FOREHEADS AND EARS BY NAZI DOCTORS = HARK, HEARER, HEAR WHAT I DO; LEND A THOUGHT NOW, MAKE BELIEVE = I CAUGHT THIS MORNING MORNING'S MINION, KING- = IRREDUCIBLE TO INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL AUTHORIAL GIFTS = LEVI STRAUSS AND MAUSS WOULD NOT ONLY RHYME, BUT BE TIMELY = THE BORDER OF THAT SO CALLED EUROPEAN FORM OF THINKING = THE STATE DOES NOT STAND ABOVE SOCIETY, BUT IS OF SOCIETY.

AO 175 = INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN THE INTERPRETATION = SETTLE A DISPUTE BETWEEN THE BOASIANS... AND THE DARWINIANS = 7º SAGITTARIUS (247): CUPID KNOCKS AT THE DOOR OF A HUMAN HEART = A GEORGE WASHINGTON CANNIBALISTICALLY DEVELOPED = ANGLE φ BETWEEN THE TANGENT AND RADIAL LINE AT THE POINT (R,θ) = COMBINATION OF FORCES AND RELATIONS OF PRODUCTION = IT IS FOLDED CAREFULLY, BUT THE ENVELOPE IS NOT SEALED = STS-124 PROCESSING CONTINUES TO PI.CK UP THE PACE = THE MODERNS - A. THE SPIRIT (PURE HISTORY OF SPIRITS) = TRANSACTINIDE ELEMENT HAVING THE ATOMIC NUMBER 118.

AO 151 = DECODING OF THE FAMOUS BARBURY CASTLE CROP CIRCLES = EXAMINING AFFECT SENSITIVITY CONTOURS = [\SUM_{K=1}^NK^2={N(N + 1)(2N + 1) \OVER 6}={2N^3 + 3N^2 + N \OVER 6}] (AO-72 SQUARE PYRAMIDAL NUMBER) = 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 50288 = A LARGE BOOK FOR CHILDREN IS OPEN AT A COLORED PAGE = BY THE LOVE THAT MOVES THE SUN AND THE OTHER STARS = FOR IT IS UNDECIDED WHICH STARS MAY CATCH YOU = FROM THE DAYS OF JOHN THE BAPTIST UNTIL NOW = JULY 31, '62 JUL. - 2:28 PM, BAGHDAD - 44E25/33N21 = ODDS AGAINST THIS BEING A CHANCE HAPPENING = PRESERVER OF LIFE COEVAL WITH THE UNIVERSE = SAGITTARIUS RISING: THE AMERICAN CENTAUROMACHY = THE PARADOX OF KEEPING-WHILE-GIVING = WINNING PEITHO SAT EVER UPON HER LIPS.

AO 135 = EVOKE… RESPONSES THAT READ THE EXPRESSION = HENRY LINCOLN'S PENTACLE OF MOUNTAINS = PHILOSOPHICAL PHYSIOGNOMIK = BURN THE GOLDEN TEARS OF FRESH FRANKINCENSE = COLLECTION OF DYNAMIC ASSOCIATIVE ARRAYS = DAPPLE-DAWN-DRAWN FALCON, IN HIS RIDING = GIANT TEXAS SINKHOLE SWALLOWS TRACTORS, TRUCKS = ONE MUST READ IN ORDER TO LEAVE AN EMPTY SPACE = PHILOSOPHICAL PHYSIOGNOMIK = THE EAGLE BECOMES CHANTICLEER TRIUMPHANT = THE WILD BULL WITH MULTICOLOURED LEGS = THESE POSSESS REFLECTIVE FACTORISATIONS = THIS PRECIOUS BIBLIOGRAPHIC HINT.

AO 109 = IT WAS A PATH COMPOSED OF TWO PARTS = 17 QUESTIONS: HENRY LINCOLN = 23-FEBRUARY-1998 @ 12H GMT LONDON = 90% OF THE DISTANCE HAS BEEN COVERED = AT ONCE HERMETIC AND TOTALLY OPEN = CAPITALIST MODE OF PRODUCTION = CHIRON, THE CENTAUR OF THE SOUTH = CUSTOM FIBONACCI SPIRAL GENERATOR = ENCHANTED THE CLEVER WITS OF MEN = EXACERBATING THE CONTRADICTIONS = EXTENSIONAL FAULTS PROPAGATE UP = FIFTH MONTH OF ISLAMIC CALENDAR = JUPITER'S ASTOLOGICAL INFLUENCE = KYORITSU WOMEN'S UNIVERSITY = PRE-SUPPOSITIONS OF THE STATE = RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD = SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT = SOCIAL RELATIONS OF PRODUCTION = SUCH A SYSTEM IS SAID TO BE UNLINKED = SYNODIC PERIOD OF THE MOON = TEXT USER INTERFACE APPLICATION = THE FIRE-ARROW-SAGITTARIAN PA.BIL.SAG = THE RULING IDEAS OF THE EPOCH = TRUTH UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED = WHITE TOWER OF THESSALONIKI.

AO 220 = GEOMETRIC AND/OR ARITHMETIC SUBDIVISIONS OF THE RECTANGULAR FORMAT (AO-72 KEY TO THE SACRED PATTERN, AO-80 ALBERTIAN-TIMAEAN SUBSTRUCTURE, AO-84 THE POUSSIN GEOMETRY, AO-96 MASONIC-GEOMETRIC SUBSTRUCTURE).

AO 210 = [\ARCTAN X = \FRAC{X}{1+X^2} \SUM_{N=0}^\INFTY \PROD_{K=1}^N \FRAC{2K X^2}{(2K+1)(1+X^2)}] (Leonhard Euler found a more efficient series for the arctangent, which is) = INDIRECTLY DETECTED A TOTAL OF THREE NUCLEI OF UNUNOCTIUM-294 = THE DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS SATISFIED BY CERTAIN FUNCTIONS ((AO-44 SARVADAMAN CHOWLA & AO-44 ABDUL MAJID MIAN) = THE JUDGMENTS OF EXPERTS GET ENCODED IN MASS-DISSEMINATED FORMS.

AO 86 = 60 DEGREES NORTH LATITUDE (Saint Petersburg, Oslo, Uppsala, Tallinn, Stockholm) = 60 DEGREES SOUTH LATITUDE (Villa Las Estrellas, Chilean Antarctic Territory, Chile & Esperanza Base, Argentina) = PROPAGANDAMINISTERIUM (AO-30 BIG LIE).

AO 93 = WHAT IS A 60 DEGREE ANGLE CALLED?

AO 111 = THE INVERSE COSINE OF ONE HALF (AO-204 IT'S CALLED THE INVERSE COSINE OF ONE HALF, OR 'BOB' TO ITS FRIENDS, AO-204 LEFT HYPERSTITION 2: BE UNREALISTIC, CHANGE WHAT'S POSSIBLE, AO-204 OF THE ROLLING LEVEL UNDERNEATH HIM STEADY AIR, AND STRIDING) = TRUTH AND THE FITNESS OF THINGS (AO-59 FIRE IN THE HEAD, AO-59 BROOKINGS REPORT, AO-59 TOMKINS THEORY).

roger said...

Wow, North, that is quite a canto! I knew you'd be inspired by the Mars landings. Hey, have you ever read Philip Dick's Martian Time Slip? I just read it - for a review/essay I'm doing. It is quite fantabulously weird. And a bit scary.

Good reading for this Mars interregnum period.

"The tale through heauen is blazed how vnawares//
Venus and Mars was taken in Vulcans snares.//
The God of war doth in his brow discouer//
The perfect and true patterne of a Louer."

Lewis said...

hey, there's an interesting dialogue between ekman and daniel goleman (author of emotional intelligence)about reading faces, samples of which can be heard at www.morethansound.net

northanger said...

correction, it's hozho, not hozro:

AO 52 = NAVOJO HOZRO = NAVAJO HOZHO [+].

roger, haven't read Martian Time Slip. why is it scary? (let me know when the essay is online).

northanger said...

AO 205 = SCHADENFREUDE: LIVE BLOGGING THE RULES COMMITTEE MEETING = 620731 CHRISKRAFT 26 SA 5'24.6946 -0.1452078 -60°55'33.9220 (AO-89 30767 CHRISKRAFT (1983 VQ1)) = WIDELY, DEEPLY, FREE-RANGING, VISUALIZATION, I UNDERSTAND.

northanger said...

AO 73 = THE INTELLECTUAL PATH (AO-89 THE 'LANGUAGE' OF EMOTION) = LINE OF LONGITUDE (AO-40 FRANÇOIS ARAGO, AO-40 NAVAJO HÓZHÓ, AO-43 1005 ARAGO, AO-63 DOMINIQUE ARAGO) = THE AUSMAN PETITION = THE TRAIL BACK TO DINETAH.

northanger said...

AO 223 = LIVE BLOGGING THE RULES COMMITTEE II: RESOLVING MICHIGAN = DIFFERENT SIDES OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOCIAL INDIVIDUAL (AO-73 MODE OF PRODUCTION) = FEUERBACH RESOLVES THE ESSENCE OF RELIGION INTO THE ESSENCE OF MAN (AO-92 SIXTH THESIS ON FEUERBACH) = IT WAS POSSIBLE TO KEEP AN OBJECT WHILE AT THE SAME TIME GIVING IT (AO-88 THE ENIGMA OF THE GIFT) = THE CITY BUILT ON EXCESS IS SEEING A TROUBLING SIGN: MODERATION (AO-107 THE GREAT FLY SPEAKS THROUGH US ALL).