Social Psychology

Chapter 9: Social Stimulation — Facial and Bodily Expression

Floyd Henry Allport

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Introductory Statement. "Say to a dog, to a child who does not yet know how to speak, or to a foreigner ... the word brigand, at the same time smiling benevolently or making affectionate gestures; these three beings, very different in their natures.... will reply to you with an expression of affection. Say to them, on the contrary, the word dearest with an expression of hatred or a threatening gesture. You will see them shrink with terror, attempt to escape, or utter complaints." By this quaint truism Paolo Mantegazza indicates "the boundary which separates conventional language from the simple and elementary language of physical expression." We have already given some attention to the primitive language of gesture. In this chapter we shall consider further the emotional and other expressive movements of the face and body, and estimate their significance for social stimulation. Our starting-point is again the physiological mechanism.

The Facial Muscles and their Expressive Function. The facial muscles are of the striped, or voluntary, variety. They are generally flat in shape, and most of them run from a fixed point on bony structure, called the `origin,' to some mobile mass of skin or muscle, called the `insertion.' Thus in contracting (shortening) the muscle pulls the region of insertion toward the point of origin. The facial muscles comprise about twenty-four pairs, and may be grouped into seven regional classes —  the facial divisions being as follows:

Brows and Forehead
Upper Lip
Lower Lip and Chin
Lower Jaw

(201) Figure 20 should be studied in connection with the following description. Each muscle will be readily identified from the name or abbreviation printed upon it. Most of these names express (in Latin) the function of the muscle.

Figure 20. The Muscles of Facial Expression

The movements of the brows are effected by two muscles. One of these is the long occipito-frontalis. The contraction of its frontal portion raises the eyebrows and draws the scalp forward producing horizontal wrinkles in the forehead, as in fright. This muscle has an antagonist in the corrugator supercilii (origin, skull at inner end of brow; insertion, skin above the eye). This is the frowning muscle: it draws the brows inward and downward, producing vertical wrinkles between them.

The eye is closed by the contraction of the circular fibers of the sphincter muscle, orbicularis palpebrarum. Its inner portion produces the quick protective wink of the lids; the surrounding part closes the eye forcibly making wrinkles, or `crow's-feet' at its outer corner. The levator palpe-

(202) broe superioris (origin, roof of eye cavity; insertion, upper lid) is not shown in the drawing. It raises the lid in antagonism to the orbicularis muscle. The glance or movement of the eyeball itself has expressive significance. Six muscles within the eye socket, arranged in pairs, give the eyeball motility in all directions.

The brow and eyes are chiefly expressive of fear and anger; the nose, on the other hand, is the organ of disgust. The pyramidalis nasi (origin, bridge of nose; insertion, skin between eyebrows) draws down the inner angle of the brows and produces transverse wrinkles over the root of the nose. The levator labii superioris alaequoe nasi (origin, high on upper jaw bone; insertion, upper lip and ala,[1] or wing, of nose) shortens the nose and widens the nostril as in contempt. Two other muscles aid in distending the nostrils, the dilatator naris, posterior and anterior (origin, upper jaw bone and nose cartilage respectively; both are inserted in the ala). They dilate the nostrils in labored breathing and anger. The dilatators are opposed by the depressor aloe nasi (origin, low in upper jaw bone; insertion, septum and ala) which draws downward and narrows the nose. The lower part of the nose is flattened by the compressor nasi (origin, upper jaw bone; insertion, skin over front of nose).

The upper lip is moved by four muscles, all originating in the upper jaw or cheek bone. They are the levator labii superioris, the zygomaticus minor, the zygomaticus major, and the levator anguli oris. They are inserted along the upper lip. The first of these raises and slightly protrudes the lip. The levator anguli oris and the zygomaticus major raise the corner of the mouth and draw it inward, or backward and upward, as in smiling. The zygomaticus minor draws the upper lip (not the corner of the mouth) backward, upward, and outward, producing an effect of sadness.

The lower lip has two depressors, the depressor labii inferioris and the depressor anguli oris (origin of both, lower jaw bone; insertion, respectively lower lip and corner of mouth). The former draws the lower lip downward and outward ironically, while the latter depresses the corners of the mouth in opposition to the levator anguli oris. The levator menti (origin, lower jaw bone; insertion, descending to integument of chin) by contracting forces the lower lip upward and protrudes it disdainfully, and also wrinkles the surface of the chin.

Several important muscles close or modify the aperture of the mouth as a whole. The orbicularis oris, a circular band surrounding the mouth, draws the lips together in antagonism to the lip muscles. Its deeper portion closes and retracts the lips (determinedly) against the teeth. The superficial layer closes and protrudes them, as in pouting. The buccinator muscle (origin, both jaw bones; insertion, corner of mouth) compresses the cheeks as in blowing a trumpet. The risorius, a muscle similarly placed, retracts the corner of the mouth as in unpleasant sardonic laughter.


Two muscles significant for raising the lower jaw are the masseter and the temporal [2] (origin cheek and temporal bones, respectively; insertion, lower jaw). While they determine the extent of mouth opening in expression, their chief function is for mastication. The large neck muscles controlling the head movements are also suggested in Figure 20.

The facial muscles, like the muscles of the larynx, work in combinations. They produce expressive patterns denoting simple and complex emotions. The muscles of expression are voluntary, that is, they are under the control of the cortex. It is likely, however, that the nuclei of the seventh (facial) nerve, lying in the medulla, provide subcortical reflexes governing facial expression. Autonomic impulses may play a part, as suggested by the involuntary play of the features in emotion. Marked differences exist in individuals, in ages (infancy, maturity), and in races with respect to the development and control of the various expressive muscles.

Figure 21 The Elementary Affective ExpressionsThe Language of the Face. Beneath all the wealth and variety of facial expression in emotions there may be recognized two fundamental types: the pleasant and the unpleasant. It will be recalled that in Chapter IV a theory of emotion was developed upon the antagonism of these two elementary affective states. a depression of the corners of the mouth, a drawing down and elongation of the cheeks,[3] and a wrinkled brow. The two types are produced by antagonistic muscular patterns (for example, the antagonism between the

(204) levator and the depressor anguli oris) thus conforming to the visceral antagonism characteristic of the two states. A sketch is presented in Figure 21. The basic pleasantness pattern may be found in all pleasantly toned emotional expressions, such as smiling, laughing, joy, love, etc.; see Figure 22 B, 16, 17, 18. The pattern of unpleasantness (wrinkled brow and inverted crescent month) is seen in pain, grief, anger, fear, scorn, disgust, hatred, and similar unpleasant emotions. It is clearly shown in Figure 22 A, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and Figure 22 B, 12, 14.

In their various combinations and degrees the manifest expressions run well into the hundreds. We can, however, reduce this facial vocabulary to six elementary roots, represented by the following groups: pain-grief, surprise-fear, anger, disgust, pleasure, and various attitudes. The first four of these groups are unpleasantly toned; the sixth is neutral. Figures 22 A and 22 B should be examined while reading the following account.[4]

I. The Pain-Grief Group. In bodily pain, the extreme form of unpleasantness, there is a contraction of both sets of brow muscles producing both horizontal and vertical wrinkles in the forehead. Figure 22 A, 1, although posed for despair, presents the main characteristics of pain.[5] The inner portions of the brows are raised more than the outer, resulting in the oblique eyebrows (sloping outward and downward) invariably seen in painful feelings. Attention being directed inward rather than outward the eyes tend to close. The, drooping lids clearly distinguish this expression from intense fear (6).[6] The mouth in intense states is somewhat open and drawn to one side (groaning), producing a deep line between the angle of the nose and the corner of the mouth (naso-labial furrow). Judging from facial expression 'bodily' pain is also 'mental' pain; at least the unpleasant affective reaction common

Figure 22A Varieties of Facial Expression

Figure 22b Varieties of Facial Expression

(205) to both produces remarkably similar effects in the face. Figure 22A, 1, representing despair might readily pass for bodily pain. Sorrow, a form of the primitive pain reaction, is shown in its mild form, sadness, in Figure 22 A, 2. Grief is depicted in 3 of the same figure; the artist's title for this picture being "Sobbing, Suppressed Weeping." In addition to the oblique brows and inverted crescentmouth, the orbicular eye muscles are contracted (weeping); the upper lip depressed and drawn backward making naso-labial furrows, the lower lip trembles loosely, and the face and nose are elongated and narrowed.

II. The Surprise-Fear Group. When a person's sensorial attention is absorbed by some object before his gaze his eyes are usually opened wide and his brows lifted suggesting horizontal wrinkles in the forehead. Since being surprised or astonished always involves attention of this type, its expression becomes a component of the astonished face. Amazement is shown in Figure 22 A, 4. The mouth drops open in a speechless manner, and the horizontal brow wrinkles are prominent. Disconcertedness or dismay, states in which we are not only surprised but baffled, combine with this expression an unpleasant one of mild anger, having vertical wrinkles added. Disillusionment, another interesting modification, is shown in Figure 22 A, 5. Pain, for disillusionment is usually painful, is clearly added to the amazed look by the obliquity of the brows and facial elongation.

The unusual and astonishing is often the terrifying: hence we pass from amazement, through alarm and fear, to horror, the expression facing us in Figure 22 A, 6. The brows strongly suggest the pain imminent from the terrifying object, which is fixated with wide open eyes. The mouth is opened wider and more rigidly set than in amazement or pain. The nostrils are dilated, and the head averted in a withdrawing reaction of flight. Milder forms of fear are not clearly distinguishable from amazement. Fear combines with pain in the expression of anxiety (F igure 22 B, 11 ) ; the former component being shown in the brow and eyes, the latter in the opening of the mouth (cf. Figure 22 A, 1).[7]

III. The Anger Group. In anger, a violent form of which

(206) appears in Figure 22 A, 8, the brows are knit together and drawn downward at their inner ends. Hence the brow wrinkles in this state are vertical. The obliquity of the eyebrows is opposite from that of the pain group, the brows sloping inward and downward. The eyes are opened wide to fixate the object of wrath. The lower lip is drawn tensely backward and downward exposing the lower teeth, while the jaw is protruded rigidly. There is a widening of the nostrils. Annoyance and irritation are similar but milder states shown chiefly in the brows. Abiding or repressed anger, commonly known as hate, is seen combined with distrust in Figure 22 A, 7. The covert glance and averted head of distrust are not markedly distinct from the expression of hatred. A feeling of 'bitterness' is suggested in the lateral region between nose and mouth. The facies of rage and fear are effectively combined in Figure 22 A, 9, the mouth expressing anger and the brows a combination of the two emotions.

IV. The Disgust Group. Disgust in its numerous varieties is a remarkably expressive reaction. Its simple form is shown in Figure 22 B, 12. Its central indications are the drawing up and shortening of the nose, producing transverse wrinkles across its root, and the elevating of the sides of the alae thus widening the bottoms of the nostrils. Depression of the angles of the mouth deepens the naso-labial furrow, and the cheeks as well as the nose are puckered so that the lower lids are raised and partially closed. Thus the eyes, if separately examined, have a laughing expression, which, however, is belied by vertical brow wrinkles suggesting displeasure from the disgusting object. The lower lip is raised and protruded suggesting loathing or mild nausea, an expression akin to incipient vomiting. Contempt is a mild and 'intellectualized' form of disgust implying the insignificance as well as the repugnance of the evoking stimulus. Combined with mild laughing it produces the odious expression of sneering (Figure 22 B, 13). The mouth in this expression is not raised at the corners, as in frank laughter, but drawn straight back with a sardonic effect. The upper lip, however, is raised toward the side, baring the upper canines. Disgust is shown in the nose; while an ugly conflict is present between the laughter of the eyes and the angry slant of the brows.


Scorn, a slightly less ignoble expression, is portrayed together with watchfulness, in Figure 22 B, 14. It is a mixture of mild anger (shown in brows) and contempt (seen in the nose). The head is averted as if to avoid the scorned object. The scornful laugh, Figure 22 B, 15, again illustrates the horizontal, sardonic aperture of the mouth.

V. The Pleasure Group. The human face is as mute in its expression of pleasurable emotions as it is eloquent in the language of displeasure. Hedonic states, beyond varying degrees of the smile and laugh, have little to distinguish them. Whether the mouth is closed, as in smiling, or open, as in laughing, its corners are drawn backward and upward. In the grin and the laugh the upper lip is raised and drawn tense, exposing the upper teeth (Figure 22 B, 18). In violent laughing the lower jaw drops far down and trembles spasmodically. In smiling the well marked naso-labial furrow is almost horizontal (see Figure 22 B, 16). The cheek muscles are raised with the upper lip, thus pushing up the lower lid into a nearly horizontal position. The orbicularis muscles also contract partially closing the eyes (Figure 22 B, 13, 15, 18). Characteristic wrinkles ('crow's-feet') are thus produced below and at the outer corners of the eyes (13, 18). In Figure 22 B, 16, however, the eyes are wide open and slyly directed askance; and repressed mirth is implied by keeping the lips closed during so broad a smile. The artist's apt title for this picture is "Meaningful Smiling."

The scornful laugh implies mere amusement at the scorned one. The malicious, vengeful laugh, and the laugh of released envy (schadenfreude) are sardonic forms modified by angry brows. The mouth slightly opened and smiling, with rapt gaze, expresses expectation or desire. Smiling also combines with the surprised countenance as in delight. The expression of love is much more subtle and difficult to describe than the expressions of other emotions.[8] The pleasure in love is, of course, expressed by a smile, and by a mimetic expression of sweetness.[9] The eyes are kindly, as in smiling; or else open wide at the loved object, as in the infatuated

(208) maiden who cannot take her eyes from her lover. Admiration and devotion are expressed by similar looks, the former having also an element of amazement. The smile of entreaty (Figure 22 B, 17) is somewhat similar to the expression of love. In love, -laughter, and good spirits generally, the eyes are bright and glowing. The tender expressions of pity and sympathy merely add a suggestion of love to the facies of sorrow, the emotion with which we generally sympathize.

VI. The Attitudinal Group. In addition to the emotional play of the features there are facial reactions of an intellectual sort. They portray such attitudes as belief, incredulity, certainty, helplessness, and the like. Admitting a wide range of individual difference in these mannerisms, we may mention a few which are fairly universal. Doubt, or hesitation, is expressed by raising the brows. The eyes, however, are not widely opened as in attention or fear. Incredulous or critical doubt adds also a protruding or pursing of the lips. For both these expressions see Figure 22 B, 10.[10] Raised brows and a wide direct gaze after speaking serve as a facial interrogation point, and demand an answer. Determination, or command, the facial imperative, is shown in the firm closure of the lips and teeth, tense jaw muscles, and wrinkles beneath the lower lip and upon the chin. It is represented in conjunction with hateful distrust in Figure 22 A, 7.

For convenience of review the facial expressions are classified according to both the emotions and the features in Table V.

Dynamic and Bodily Components of Expression. The foregoing account has dealt with facial expression in a stationary, photographic manner. Dynamic aspects such as the shifting of the eyes, the quickness of the frown, and the changes in respiration, require a motion-picture in order to complete the analysis of expression. A great deal also is added to facial expression by the accompanying position and movement of the head. arms, hands, and body. In many cases they enable us to lead a significance into the facial aspect which we otherwise should miss. The hands held vertically in front of the body with palms inward convert a sober, upward gaze

(209) into a religious expression. With palms forward in front of the chest, and fingers joined, they connote repulsion or a command for silence. When the hands are held somewhat lower, with palms

Table V. Synopsis of Facial Expressions
  Pain and Grief Amazement and Fear Anger Disgust Pleasure (smiling and laughing)
Brows and Forehead Raised. Knitted. Oblique out and down Wrinkles h.v.1 Raised. Wrinkles h. (amazement) (Terror as in pain) Lowered. Knitted. Oblique in and down. Wrinkles v. Slightly knitted Wrinkles v Smooth (except in violent laughing)
Eyes Partly or fully closed (Tears) Wide open Wide open Varying. Usually narrow, resembling smiling Partly shut. Lower lid raised ‘Crow’s-feet’
Nose Compressed (thinned) Elongated Alae dilated (in terror) Alae dilated (in rage) Raised. Shortened. Wrinkled Alae raised at sides Natural
Mouth Lowered. Open and skewed (in groaning) Opened. Wide and fixed (in strong fear) Rectangular rigid opening. Exposing lower teeth Slightly elevated Raised. Open, upper teeth shown (laugh) Closed. (smile.)
Lips Depressed at corners Lower lip trembling Somewhat depressed at corners Depressed at corners Lower lip tens Depressed at corners Lower lip protruding Corners drawn back and up Upper lip raised, tense
Lower Jaw Drooping Immovable Rigid Protruding Raised Dropped and trembling (in laughing)
Head Sunk forward Drawn back or averted Advanced Sometimes averted Thrown back (in laughing)
1. h. and v. denote horizontal and vertical

Note: To be able to produce desired expressions memorize the columns vertically; to be able to identify expressions produced by others memorize them hoizontally

forward and downward and fingers spread, the effect is one of abhorrence or disgust. Raising them and drawing them back, with palms forward and fingers spread, universally expresses amazement.[11] A cringing posture with head and eyes lowered con-

(210) -verts a friendly smile into an obsequious one. Coquetry resides in a sweet, smiling expression with lowered head and upward glance.[12] We often assign to facial expression that which we infer from the rest of the body. It is indeed difficult to distinguish between the expressions manifest in the face and those which we project, or read into it, from the posture, the gestures, or the situation.


Darwin's Three Principles. Travelers have reported that facial expressions are substantially the same for all races of men, primitive or civilized. They also appear to be innate, since they develop in children without any conscious process of learning. They are not acquired from the social environment, for they are observed in the congenitally blind. Certain of the expressions, moreover, are common to man and the lower animals. The universality and antiquity of these reactions challenged the interest of the great evolutionist, Charles Darwin.

The well-known `three principles' of Darwin may be stated as follows: (1) The first is that of the survival of serviceable associated habits. Facial reactions were originally used by our remote ancestors as means of defense or satisfaction of needs. They were transmitted as inherited reflexes to the descendants. The latter no longer needed them; but they persisted because 'deeply ingrained in the germ-plasm,' and became simply 'facial expressions' characteristic of certain situations. They are the last vestige of the total primitive reaction which our forbears made to objects arousing the emotions. We no longer attack with our teeth; but our simian (and perhaps human) ancestors did so, and we still uncover our teeth in the snarl of anger. The oblique eyebrows of pain Darwin explained as follows. The primitive and infantile reaction to pain is violent screaming. In this the eyes would become harmfully engorged with blood were they not compressed by the contraction of the corrugator, pyramidal, and orbicular muscles. As civilized adults we usually inhibit screaming in painful situations; but the less voluntary, and hereditarily associated,

(211) contractions of these muscles still take place. We therefore overcome the pull of these muscles by voluntarily contracting the central part of the frontalis muscle. The eyebrows are thus both knitted and raised in the center, giving them the familiar oblique position. The expression of disgust is similarly explained as the facial vestige of the total reaction of vomiting, no longer required in our contacts with offensive objects.

(2) The second principle is that of antithesis. Darwin conceived that emotions were ranged in pairs of opposites. The fact that one emotion had acquired a certain pattern of response he considered was sufficient ground for its opposite to be expressed by opposed forms of reaction. Thus the cringing and fawning of the happy, affectionate dog, together with his lowered ears and tail, and sinuous movements, could be understood only as the opposites of the erect and stiffened posture, and pricked up ears and tail, of the dog in anger.

(3) Other expressive reactions were ascribed by Darwin to his third principle of direct action of the nervous system. In emotions there is a diffuse flow of motor impulse into whatever channels afford the readiest outlet, habits, of course, belonging to this class. We have here also such involuntary effects as trembling, writhing, blushing, respiratory changes, and erection of the hairs.

A Reinterpretation of Darwin's Theory. Captious critics have sought to minimize Darwin's expressional theories in contrast with his main contribution to science. When reformulated, however, in the light of recent conceptions we shall see that they still bear the stamp of his genius for sensing important truths. In the first place he demonstrated that facial expression, or communication, was not the original function of the facial muscles; but that such biological ends as mastication, dilatation of the nostrils for breathing, and shading the eyes were their proper functions. The purpose to express was therefore not the origin of this behavior. It seems however that l Darwin neglected the possibility of the facial movements becoming important in adaptation to the social environment. In earlier chapters we have seen that, in both lower animals and man, original vocal utterances and gestures which were purely random or emotional in character have become definite means of

(212) communication. Other creatures first understood, them through their association with the actions they accompanied, and reacted for their own good. Then, since they served in this way as means of conditioning the behavior of others, they finally became true language stimuli and were used for social control. It is likely that facial expressions have followed the same course of development. Beginning as complete reactions of the whole animal (attack, biting, etc.) they were shortened to those facial and bodily components alone which could serve as expressive signs for controlling others (facies of rage, etc.).[13] Where a more adequate language has evolved, as in man, they serve to emphasize and lend emotional color to the words themselves.

Darwin's three principles may be most conveniently examined in the reverse order to that of their statement. First, as to the 'direct effects of the nervous system. Most of these seem to be a part of the general and diffuse emotional response controlled by the autonomic. They belong with the class of visceral reactions described in Chapter IV. It is at least probable, however, that the facial reactions also come under autonomic control; and that they too are 'direct effects' or parts of the emotional response, rather than expressions of an emotion first aroused in the cortex and then expressed in the face. From the James-Lange viewpoint consciousness of these reactions constitutes a part of the emotional experience it self.

We have advanced the theory in Chapter IV that the visceral changes in emotion are based upon the principle of muscular antagonism between the effects of the cranio-sacral division for pleasant states, and the sympathetic for unpleasant ones. The further application of this view, together with the suggestion just made as to the autonomic control of expression, would account satisfactorily for the two basic and antagonistic forms of facial expression (pleasant and unpleasant) described on page 203. We arrive in this way at the second principle, the antithesis between certain emotional expressions, which Darwin recognized, but did not satisfactorily explain. The examples cited by him of human and animal be-

(213) -havior in pleased and displeased emotional states clearly illustrate the antagonistic action of the expressive muscles. His limitation lay in his failure to observe that antithesis applies, not to emotions as a whole, but only to their affective components, pleasure and unpleasantness. The antithetical relation holds between emotional expressions because they contain as components these two antagonistic affective reactions of the face.

We find, therefore, that by including expressions themselves in Darwin's principle of direct (autonomic) response, and by giving more precise and physiological definition to his theory of antithesis, these conceptions may be fitted into an acceptable scheme of explanation.

We have previously seen that the emotional states of the newborn child consist of an undifferentiated, unpleasant affectivity (protopathetic state); the special emotions of fear, anger, and the like developing later. Similarly, the sole facial expressive equipment of the newborn babe is that of bodily pain. Smiling, the basic pleasant expression, developing within a few weeks, also considerably antedates the expression of any particular hedonic emotion. Our emotional theory offered the explanation that the different emotions (fear, anger, love) were developed through the addition of somatic responses of escape, attack, affection, and the like, toward the stimulating objects. May we not therefore expect that the facial reactions, constituting a part of the emotional response, develop in the same manner? This question leads us back to the first principle of Darwin and the genetic explanation it advances.

Darwin, to recall briefly, regarded expressions as inherited vestiges of serviceable habits acquired by our anthropoid ancestors. To the inheritance of facial reflexes we can surely find no objection. But in the innate connection of these reactions with complex and meaningful situations, we reencounter the confusion of the instinct hypothesis. Our recourse as formerly to ontogenetic development.

We may begin by attempting to explain thefrown. In infancy thwarting or irritating stimuli caused fits of crying with the attendant contraction of the corrugator and other muscles. We are not here concerned with the origin of the brow contraction in crying.

(214) It is no doubt' an innate reflex serviceable, like respiration and sneezing, to the child himself. We are interested merely in knowing how the brow contraction happens to be associated as a frown with pain and anger. This may be explained, as Darwin said, by the persistence of a response, once serviceable, in situations similar to the ones in which it was originally evoked. That is, in later life when hurtful or thwarting conditions arise, although the screaming fit may be inhibited, the semi-involuntary brow contractions remain and become an expressive abridgment of the whole pain or anger response. So far We have sound behavior psychology, and can agree with Darwin.

But this statement implies no reaction whose expressive significance is inherited as a vestige of an ancestrally useful habit. The original response was serviceable for the life of the individual himself, and within his life passed into an expressive act. That the baby's ancestors protected their eyes in screaming by the frown is of no particular interest to us; it is sufficient to know that the baby himself does.[14] Nor do we need `innumerable generations of screaming and frowning infants' in order to fix the expression. If the baby in question were the first child who had ever frowned in crying we could account equally well for the expressive role the frown assumes in his adult behavior.[15]

The same may be said of the exposure of the teeth in rage. Biting becomes a part of the prepotent struggle response of young children. Tendencies to bite destructively are often inhibited by the social environment. Biting also is not uncommon in the fighting of civilized as well as primitive adults. It is significant that the baring of the teeth in anger does not occur until late infancy or childhood, that is, until the use of the teeth as tools and weapons is well advanced. Darwin's formula was, "The ancestor bites in angry attacks and the child instinctively expresses rage by baring his teeth." Our revision would read, " The child bites and so

(215) acquires the habit of expressing rage by baring his teeth." The original movements of nausea similarly are facial reactions accompanying vomiting and tasting bitter or nauseating substances. These are made early in life by the child himself and form the basis of the later appearing expressive reaction of disgust.

Darwin's first principle therefore is accepted with the important modification that the original serviceable reflexes, but not their expressive significance, are inherited. Instead of the biologically useful reaction being present in the ancestor and the expressive vestige in the descendant, we regard both these functions as present in the descendant, the former serving as a basis from which the latter develops. Foreshortened in this way Darwin's theory becomes a useful principle of explanation.

The Mimetic Responses. Our discussion up to this point has been largely concerned with the motor side of the facial reactions, explained by Darwinian principles. There now remains the problem of their extension upon the afferent side. Originally evoked only by biologically prepotent stimuli (pain, noxious tastes, etc.), facial expressions come eventually to be produced in response to objects or situations, often social in character, which are merely analogous to the original stimuli. The recognition of these analogies constitutes the mimetic theory of Wundt and Piderit.

Disgust is an excellent example. The facial reaction here is that accompanying the rejection of an unsavory substance from the alimentary canal, as in vomiting; or the puckering of the nose so as to prevent the entrance of unpleasant odors into the nostrils. Originally this response was produced only when stimulated by such disagreeable substances; but with increasing development it becomes extended to persons, language, scenes, and proposals which offend one's aesthetic habits or moral principles. The language of the face is cruder and more frank than that of the tongue. To look at a person with contempt is to say to him mimetically, `I can’t stand your odor!' To look at him with loathing is to liken him to an intolerable substance which one is about to vomit.[16]


Since one of the original functions of facial muscles was movement facilitating smelling and tasting, there is good reason for including these reactions as sources of expressive meaning. The mimetic of gustatory movements is especially interesting. In tasting a sweet substance the lips are closed and drawn back against the parted teeth so that they come into contact with the tip of the tongue and help rub the sapid stimulus against the taste buds. This `sweet' expression of the face is extended by analogy to all persons who arouse pleasurable reactions in us. It passes readily into smiling. In the `bitter' expression the blade of the tongue is drawn as far down as possible away from the palate so as to minimize any taste-enhancing contact. The result is the lengthening of the naso-labial distance, as seen in countenances of hate and bitter envy. The pursing of the lips in mentally examining some new proposal or theory is mimetically described by Piderit as the movement of tasting an unfamiliar substance.

The field of analogical extension, however, is wider than that of the alimentary functions. We express grief or remorse facially almost in the same way as we do bodily affliction. Refined persons often react to insulting proposals as they would to threatening objects, namely, by winking their eyes. We frown when, thwarted in our movements; we frown also when in thinking we come to some perplexing (thwarting) problem. As babies we laugh when a sudden movement is made toward our ticklish parts. When we are grown up we laugh at any incongruous (hence sudden) situation, or at a `thrust' of wit. In our efforts to draw on a refractory boot we set our jaw firmly. This produces the same 'determined' expression with which we coerce a stubborn c hild. We raise our brows and wrinkle our foreheads when surprised; ed; we raise them also when in doubt, for doubt is a kind of inte nal surprise. The object of surprise is unfamiliar to our senses; the object of doubt is unfamiliar to our habits of thought.[17]

Theory of Mimetic Expression. The language of facial expression is thus largely one of unconscious metaphor. How these metaphors come into existence we can only conjecture. The

(217) situation, being a stimulus substitution, is strongly suggestive of the conditioned response. The difficulty with this explanation, however, lies in the fact that the new stimulus does not need to be present at the same time that the response to the original stimulus is evoked. Persons arouse our expressions of disgust although we have never seen them simultaneously with smelling a bad odor. Some mediating link is therefore needed that will explain the transfer not by contiguity but by analogy. We venture the suggestion that a bodily or neural setting of some sort provides such a link.

Suppose, for example, that we are confronted by a person we had thought to be on another continent. We raise our brows in astonishment. At the same time there occurs a suspension of all our bodily responses because of our lack of preparation for the surprise. This suspension constitutes our 'setting' for the moment, and it undoubtedly affords proprioceptive stimulation from the muscles and joints. These latter stimuli serve to condition the brow-raising response which they accompany. Now let us suppose that some friend tells us he has been to a seance and has talked with his dead uncle. We are startled by this information, and immediately become doubtful or even incredulous. It has given our habits of thought the same sort of surprise that the unexpected appearance of an acquaintance gave to our settled attitudes of overt response. Modern psychology, however, teaches that thought is also a sequence of bodily attitudes. Its responses are aroused in the form of internal speech, or other symbolic reactions representing objects, as truly as outward behavior is evoked as a reaction to the objects themselves. Our thought attitudes under the influence of our friend's remark would thus be blocked, precisely as our overt responses were in the former instance. This blocking, however, provides proprioceptive stimuli which have previously become adequate for evoking the reaction of raising the brows: hence this response takes place. We learn, therefore, to raise our brows in doubt just as we do in amazement. An intermediary or common bodily setting would thus account for the transfer from the original to the mimetic signification. In behavioristic terms this setting would be the meaning of the situation and of the facial expression.


A further possibility is that these intermediating stimuli might arise from faint language responses. Mimetic expression does not occur in children until the beginning of true speech and understanding of words. It is also absent in animals below man, that is, among creatures who possess no articulate language.[18] Furthermore, human speech is as rich in affective metaphors as is facial language. We may cite such familiar phrases as `mental anguish,' 'a bitter cup,' `a bitter pill' (slang), `he makes me sick,' `biting sarcasm,' `filthy habits,' `poking fun,' `tickled to death,' `sweet disposition,' and `stiff-necked.' In so far as this possibility is realized the social environment, by calling attention verbally to these analogies of feeling and sensation, plays a part in the development of the expressive function. In the race, however, the bodily settings must have been the original causes, for the language symbols are but names for these settings.

Summary. We may bring together the various threads of the discussion in the following statements. Expression as such is neither an original nor an inherited function of facial muscles. It develops, probably within the early life of the individual, from facial reflexes serviceable in other ways to the organism. Among animals and primitive peoples it may acquire significance as a form of social control.

Genetically facial expressions are built upon two fundamental and antagonistic affective expressions, the pleasant and the unpleasant. These facial reactions are innate accompaniments of their respective feeling states. They give an antithetical aspect to the full emotional expressions into which they enter. They are earliest in appearance in the life of the infant, and are gradually modified by the addition of special muscular contractions serving such biological uses as protection of the eyes, rejection of bad tastes and smells, biting, mastication, and facilitation of looking, listening, smelling, and tasting. In many situations of this kind in later life, these adaptive reaction,are either reduced, inhibited, or disused; or else are called forth as mere analogies to their original function. The movements of the facial muscles, however, remain and serve as indices of the emotional states or attitudes involved.

(219) Upon the afferent side the expressions become conditioned by increasingly remote and `intellectualized' stimuli bearing merely an analogy to the original stimulus. This analogy is carried as an intermediary bodily setting, aided perhaps by language symbols.


Muscle Tonus and Posture as Social Stimuli. If we place a cat upon the floor its legs will stiffen as soon as its feet touch, and a standing posture will result. If its cerebral hemispheres are removed this reaction will still take place. It is explained by the fact that kinaesthetic or tactual stimuli in the legs or feet send impulses to the cerebellum, whence efferent impulses pass outward again to the extensors of the limbs causing them to become fixed and to resist flexion and collapse as gravity pulls the animal downward. The standing and in fact many of the postures of human beings are due to the same sort of mechanism. Continual postural reflexes keep up a steady, unconscious flow of mild innervation, holding the skeletal parts in useful positions against the force of gravity (see p. 26). We can thus stand, sit, or hold objects in our hands without conscious effort or fatigue. Another important function of tonic contraction is to prepare our muscles for rapid and energetic action; for a high level of tonus is the physiological basis for the vigorous movements of the executive or leader. Postural tonus varies with the state of the organism. When refreshed, cheerful, and in good health it is well maintained. In opposite conditions our muscles are flaccid and inert, and we seem to be `losing our grip.

Some of the best examples of the social effects of tonicity are seen in military and other forms of drill. Some drill masters, whose tonus is high, suggest power and energy in their bearing and every syllable of their commands. Troops respond immediately and almost unconsciously by greater snap and precision of movement. Officers''Click Schools' established in war-time army camps had this very purpose in view; for the effect upon the morale of troops exerted through the bearing and energy of their officers is axiomatic in military life.[19] The same influence is felt in the contacts of

(220) personalities in daily life, and in the establishment of the ascendant-submissive relation. The firm grip of the hand inspires us with energy and confidence; the flabby handshake, literally speaking, makes us tired.

A sudden increase in tonus level, seen as alertness, together with orientation toward some object, forms a most compelling stimulus to others. A group of people on the street alert, motionless, and all facing in the same direction, catches the corner of our eye with amazing swiftness. Changes in the posture of a few pigeons quickly sets the whole flock into alarm and flight.

Physiognomy. The human face in its quiet, unemotional moments is a significant social stimulus in the clue it gives to the possessor's habits and personal traits. Two factors enter into physiognomy as an indication of character: (1) tonus level, and (2) habits of the features and permanent wrinkles formed at right angles to the direction of contraction of frequently used muscles. A slight perpetual frown frequently indicates the irascible temperament, while `crow's-feet' show about the lids of the jovial fat man. Mild contempt is a physiognomic trait of the 'exclusive' person. The `sweet' and `bitter' personalities are often told by their facial postures. The hard expression of the criminal is of the bitter type. Occupation or habits are also revealed, as in the 'used' and mature look about the eyes of the student. `Wear and tear' on the face often betrays character. Flabbiness of feature, sagging of the eyelids, and a used, inelastic drag of the lips signalize the roué and the prostitute. Dissipation of bodily resources has brought facial tonus to its lowest ebb. Stimuli of this sort are often responded to unconsciously, or, as we say, intuitively. Yet they determine an infinite variety of subtle approaching and avoiding tendencies which we display toward our fellows. For one sensitive to such influences an hour spent in a café frequented by debauchees, or in a street car gazing into the worn or expressionless faces of shoppers and laborers, becomes intolerably depressing.

Observation of physiognomic traits based on tonus and on temperament and habit shown in the face is a useful supplement to the methods of personality measurement described in Chapter Vl. Many persons have tried to analyze character, temperament, and

(221) even abilities, by dimensions of the forehead, prominence of the chin, shape of the nose, convexity of profile, texture of skin and hair, and other morphological aspects governed by metabolism and skeletal growth rather than by behavior. The correlation of these factors with personality is unproved and probably remote.[20] Differences of texture and fineness of feature no doubt sometimes distinguish opposite extremes in human breeding, just as the race horse is finer and cleaner limbed than the draft animal. Mental defectives have facial crudities, or stigmata, and as a rule, undersized crania. But these of course are extreme types. Experiments have shown that ability to estimate intelligence from photographs is so low, even with very intelligent persons as judges, that the method is of little value in employment selection. Here again, the extremes of intelligence and stupidity are recognized; but not the more moderate grades. There is little, therefore, to justify the absurd pretension of the 'character analysts' that their methods constitute an exact science. Facts of behavior, and evidences of behavior traits seen in the face are the only reliable criteria of, personality.


Genetic Aspects and Extremes of Sensitivity. Within a few weeks afterbirth the infant manifests an interest in the grimaces of its elders. Movements of mouth and eyes, made close to him, cause him to fixate the expressions with an attentive frown and to cease his random kicking and squirming. The closed fist is sometimes held out toward the stimulating countenance. As early as six months of age the baby begins to watch the play of the features and to connect with them a meaning for self-adaptation in a manner previously described. Professor Cooley observes, no doubt correctly, that the response to facial expression is learned rather than instinctive. The smile is a social conditioner of the child's pleasant experiences. Hence it evokes his smile as a part of his own pleasure response, and not as an imitation of his parent's expression. The

(222) expression of anger produces in him, not the instinctive fear of a wrathful visage, but fear and avoidance of the unfamiliar. Since response to facial expression antedates that to articulate language, expression — becomes an early stimulus for conditioning fhe prepotent activities of approach and withdrawal. The year-old child reacts quickly to new situations on the basis of expressions manifest in his parents' faces and postures; and comes also to look for these expressions in order to direct his reaction.[21] Children do not learn to make facial expressions by imitating their elders; nor do they often mimic expressions or physiognomies in their pantomimic play.

We have previously referred to the unusual sensitivity of such animals as Clever Hans in reacting to small clues furnished by unconscious movements. Certain persons also develop this ability to an extraordinary degree. So-called mind readers and spiritualists rely on subtle indications of facial expression, voice, and bodily movement in response to questions they put to the subject. These stimuli are often so slight as to elude their own consciousness; they seem, even to themselves, to be following the guidance of mystical forces.[22]

Experiments in Reading Facial Expression. The stimulating power of facial expressions must of course be measured in terms of the differential responses which subjects are capable of making to them. The language reaction has been used in' all studies made up to the present time; the significance of the expression for the subject being assumed to be commensurate with his ability correctly to name it. Unfortunately it has been necessary to use photographs rather than actual faces, because of the impossibility of obtaining standardized stimuli in the case of the latter. The cinematograph may afford a more dynamic and realistic technique for future experiments. The results thus far achieved deal with three main questions. (1) How many and what facial expressions are

(223) accurately identified; and what characteristic confusions exist? (2) What methods are used by the subject in identifying them? (3) What differences between individuals exist with respect to this ability, and how are these differences tc be interpreted?

1. How many and what expressions are correctly named? In 1917 Professor H. S. Langfeld conducted a study with 105 pictures selected from the same source as those of Figures 22 A and B, and representing fourteen distinct groups of facial expression. In some of these tests five subjects were used, and in others, six. The subjects examined the photographs and named the expressions in their own words. A total of 525 judgments were obtained, of which only about 33 per cent were correct. If only the eight groups in the following table are selected (the others being unusually difficult or perhaps only `projected' expressions) the accuracy rises to 43 per cent, which is still surprisingly low. Laughter was the most readily identified, being correctly named in 64 per cent of the cases; anger the least readily (30 per cent accuracy). Pain was also readily seen (50 per cent); while disgust and fear were low (36 per cent each).

Another method of determining accuracy in this function was developed as a facial expression test by the present writer. Fourteen of the Rudolph pictures (previously selected by Professor Langfeld) were shown as lantern slides to various classes of students. Each subject was given a sheet containing fourteen groups of names of expressions. Each of these groups comprised eight titles, some approximating that of the corresponding picture, but only one absolutely correct. The task required was to underline the expression in each group which best suited the corresponding picture. Partial credits were given for the approximate names. A perfect score —  that is, correct titles chosen for all fourteen pictures — was considered as 100 per cent.[23] Employing this method results were obtained somewhat similar to those of Langfeld. The average scores attained by various groups of subjects ranged between 45 and 50 per cent.

(224) Table VI presents the rank order of the more important expressions according to the frequency of correct identification in these two investigations. The first expression in each column is the one judged correctly in the greatest number of cases; the second expression is second in accuracy of identification, and so on.

Table VI. Facial Expressions in Order of Identifiability
6 subjects 105 pictures
48 subjects 14 pictures
Laughter Laughter
Amazement Bodily Pain
Bodily Pain Fear (Horror)
Hate (Aversion-Hate Group) Distrust (similar to Hate)
Fear (Anxiety-Fear-Terror Group)
Disgust (Scorn-Contempt Group)
Doubt Doubt
Anger (Anger-Rage Group) Disgust

Laughter and bodily pain stand out as the most readily identified of the expressions. This fact accords with our earlier treatment of them as the basic affective patterns underlying all emotional states and their expressions (see pp. 86, 212). Disgust, anger, and the attitudinal expression, doubt, stand last in correctness of judgment. Amazement, fear, and hate are intermediate.[24]

The pictures in the groups of expressions named in the left hand column of Table VI were later presented to the subjects again with the artist's title, for acceptance or rejection. In 77 per cent of the pictures the artist's title (presumably the correct one) was accepted. Suggestion was not the only factor here, for when the same pictures were presented at a later time with suggested erroneous titles, less

(225) than one third were accepted. Although the ability correctly to name a facial expression is generally low, the meaning of it is readily seen when its true name is given.[25] As to special cases of confusion, violent expressions of pain, rage, and terror were sometimes not distinguished. Similarity of brow wrinkles was probably the cause of the failure to discriminate. Strong amazement and fear were also confused. Subtler components in strong states were somewhat obscured, by the major emotion, though they were at once recognized when pointed out. Some subtleties, however, were well observed, such as vindictiveness in anger, anger in scorn (bitter expression), and conflicts, for example, between jest and earnest. (Langfeld).

2. What methods do the subjects use in identifying facial expressions ? A significant fact in the studies by both Langfeld and Ruckmick was the manner in which the task was performed. The reports of most of the subjects agreed in the endeavor to imagine a concrete situation in which the expression they were examining would be appropriate. The following are instances of this attempt: imagining one's self as the object of the emotion expressed, or as a spectator; imagining what object could be before the man's eyes to evoke such a response; visualizing the expression on a friend's face and deducing its cause; recalling an actual situation in which a similar expression was seen; developing auditory imagery of what the man )might be saying. The association between the face and the attendant circumstances is thus seen to be very close. We do not react to facial expressions alone in daily life; and we can scarcely do so in an experiment. The situation as a whole words, gestures, postures, and known circumstances lend an indispensable support in our interpretation.

An auxiliary method frequently used was the attempt to imitate the expression with the subject's own features. The purpose of this procedure seemed to be to receive all possible stimulations (facial in (his case) which might bring up by association (conditioning) situations in which such expressions were previously experienced, thereby receiving a clue for the identification. It is more difficult,

(226) however, to derive the situation from the facial expression than to recognize the expression once the situation is known. This truth is a matter of common experience. When we come upon an individual or a group of people expressing some strong emotion, we immediately attempt to find out what has happened. This knowledge at once gives significance to the otherwise chaotic mass of facial expressions. Dropping into the middle of a moving-picture show, we find the expressions of the actors merely a disturbing or ridiculous set of grimaces until we have caught up the thread of the story.  -

We are now able to explain the immediate recognition of an expression, and acceptance of the artist's title, once the name of it is given. Words are integrated most minutely with all our bodily attitudes. Merely hearing the name puts the subject into a definite situation. If the expression seems to `snap into place' in this perceptual setting, the suggested name is accepted; if not, the name is rejected.

A third method of identification used by some was to make an analysis of the various components of the expression.

3. How do individuals differ in their ability to name facial expressions; and to what are these differences due ? A wide range of ability exists among subjects for reading expressions. In testing several college classes with the facial expressions test described above, the writer has found scores ranging between 21 and 72 per cent, fairly evenly distributed according to the probability curve, with the median (middle score) at about 48. There is no pronounced difference between the sexes in this capacity.[26] Are these wide individual variations due to differences of innate susceptibility to social stimulation, or do they result from discrepancies in practice and in the methods employed? To answer this the writer conducted three lines of experimentation, dealing with variations in the three methods described under question 2.

(a) The effect of analysis. We may first inquire what difference.

(227) is made in one's performance by a knowledge of the emotions expressed by positions of the various features taken separately. The facial expressions test was given to twelve young women. They were then asked to study a chart of expressions similar to Table V for a period of fifteen minutes, after which they took the test again and made use of what they had learned. The results are presented in Table VII.

Table VII Effect of Knowing How to Analzye Expression Upon Success of Identifying Them
Subject I II II
Score before study of chart Score after study of chart Gain through study
Cu 64 50 -14
Mu 61 53 -8
Pe 59 57 -2
Fi 59 59 0
Mc 52 61 9
Le 48 52 4
Ko 47 59 12
St 46 48 2
Ke 45 65 20
Ba 39 46 7
He 38 59 21
Ha 28 48 20
Average 48.8 54.7 5.9

Correlation between ranks in columns I and III = -.86

Judging from this table the following interesting facts and conclusions may he established - (1) Out of twelve subjects, all but four improve in their identification of facial reactions with study and application of the principles of expression. (2) Practice in this regard tends to equalize the ability of the various subjects. The less efficient gain the most, and the more efficient gain the least. The three best judges in the original test actually lost after study of

(228) the chart, and lost in direct proportion to their ability. The gain of the poorer judges was also roughly proportional to their lack of ability.[27] There is, in other words, a fairly high inverse correlation (-.86) between the original ability to name expressions and the improvement through learning how to analyze the component positions of the features .[28] (3) We conclude, therefore, that while there may be innate differences of a general sort in the sensitivity required to learn facial expressions, the broad differences between individuals in this respect are due to differences of practice in reacting to the expressive criteria. Some persons, through special_ incentive or opportunity, have already learned how to read faces, and probably at an early age. The methods by which they do it have become automatic and unconscious through continual use. To recall them, therefore, as in substituting conscious analysis, proves an unnecessary distraction and in some cases actually hinders their judgments, in the same way that playing with notes a pianoforte piece one has long played from memory usually confuses one. Others have never had the drive or the occasion to observe what emotions facial reactions indicate. The less they had noticed them the lower they stood in the test: hence their great improvement when this knowledge was acquired and used.

(b) The effect of reacting to situations given in words. The second experiment was performed upon a mixed group of fourteen subjects, and consisted of two parts. ' In the first, the test pictures were given the subjects with a list of twenty-eight names. They were asked to examine each photograph carefully and select the' most suitable title from among those offered. One week later they were given the pictures again with the list of names in a different order. The pictures were spread out and each subject was asked to fix his attention upon each title given in turn, and try to develop in himself the emotion and expression indicated by that title. With this state fully aroused he was to look over all the photographs and select that which best fitted the emotion he was experiencing. Thus in the first case the task was to find a word to

( 229) suit the expression; in the second it was to fit an expression to the word. The results were strikingly similar to those of the preceding experiment. One half the subjects succeeded better with the first method, and the other half with the second. These were the better and the poorer judges respectively. The more efficient were uniformly and slightly reduced in their scores by fitting the picture to an adopted situation; the scores of the less efficient were considerably enhanced by this method. The correlation between improvement through the second procedure and original ability in the test was therefore again inverse (-.54). Here again the superior judges seem to react almost 'intuitively' to the face itself. The inferior ones are aided by grasping at any clue which will support their meager understanding of the features.

(c) The effect of imitating the expression. A final experiment Was conducted to determine the result upon the test score of trying to imitate with one's own features the expression shown. The compared results of two sets of scores, one with and the other without imitation, confirm the tendencies shown, in (a) and (b). In the superior half of the group slightly more were hindered than were helped by the use of imitation; in the lower half almost twice as many were helped as were hindered by this method.

Further Interpretations. A few remarks may be added upon the question as to why some persons naturally acquire this facility in judging faces while others do not. It has been found through a visual observation test that this ability does not correlate with powers of observation in general. Some special incentive or reason must, therefore, be found for the tendency to observe faces in particular. Opportunity may have had some influence, as in the contrast between the only or the solitary child and the child in a large family. Special abilities or interests, such as the literary and artistic, appear to have some relation to the social sensitivity. The personality typo, especially in the relations of the individual to his social sphere, seems to be fairy-significant. The self-conscious or submissive individual who avoids face-to-face contacts, especially in strenuous moods, and who is somewhat embarrassed in the presence of `scenes,' would naturally miss many opportunities for learning the vocabulary of facial expression. In the group of

(230) twelve young women tested, the scores showed a slight correlation (.45) with ratings in the trait of ascendance-submission. The reclusive, self-centered, and asocial individual may also stand low in the test through indifference to the reactions of others. It is impossible, however, to generalize, since a drive for reading others may develop as a compensation for defect in the social sphere. No single cause, but a complex of capacities, circumstances, and traits, appears to underlie this ability.

General Aspects of Expressional Stimulation. The language of facial behavior is, as we have seen, a supplementary and unconscious one. While it is capable of gaining much significance through careful interpretation, in its usual role it is more often contributory than direct. It acquires its meaning through the bodily movements and other stimuli of the whole situation in which it occurs. As we shall see later it attains great significance as a contributory stimulus in crowds. For two reasons facial expression has been neglected by man as a form of communication. First, the language of speech has proved a far more versatile and practicable method. Secondly, displays of violent emotion in face or body have been discouraged by custom.

Facial expression is an involuntary stimulus which can be used to read what the individual is unwilling to make known in words. The grosser reactions we can inhibit; but a keen eye still detects the widening of the eyes in fear or doubt and the incipient frown. The psychiatrist, the lawyer, the diplomat, and the salesman depend continually upon such indications from persons with whom they deal. This is the 'halfway' or self-adapting stage characteristic of the adjustments of lower animals. One adapts himself (reacts) to the behavior of his fellows without their special cognizance. Social control through facial expression is relatively rare among human beings. In cases of secrecy where words and gestures are out of the question the twitch of the mouth, the mandatory wink, and the covert frown of warning exert direct influence upon the behavior of others.


In order to complete the survey of social stimulations we must

(231) recognize a large group of impressions purely incidental to the presence and personal behavior of others. The mere sight of others about us influences our responses in definite ways. In a room filled with workers or office clerks the peripheral vision of the movements and posture of others, the noise of their work, and even the human odor and humidity of the atmosphere, all have their effect on the total reaction of each individual. Physical contact and pressures incident to mobs and crowded streets is a stimulation which, in emotional excitement, may achieve great power. `Shopper's fatigue' is due in part to the protracted strain of reacting to the close proximity of others, and to resisting the constant and oppressive stimulations from crowding. These minor forms of excitation are not used for social control. Furthermore they are devoid of any expressive significance. They are produced unwittingly; and are responded to neither directly nor consciously by those whom they affect. Yet they exert a powerful influence in many social situations.


(The first ten of the following references contain useful illustrations of facial and bodily expressions.)

Darwin, Charles, The Expression at the Emotions in Man and Animals. Piderit, Th., Mimik and Physiognomik (2d ed.). Detmold, H. Denecke, 1886.

Mantegazza, P.. Physiognomy and Expression (English ed.).

Duchenne, G. B., Mécanisme de la Physionomie Humaine. Paris, Baillière, 1876.

Bell, Sir Charles. The Anatomy and Philosophy of Expression.

Hughes, H., Die Mimik des Menschen. Frankfurt, Johannes Alt, 1900.

Rudolph, H., Der Ausdruck der Gemutsbewegungen des Menschen. (Textbook and Atlas.) Dresden, Kuhtmann, 1903.

Crile, G. W., The Origin and Nature of the Emotions (see illustrations).

Man - An Adaptive Mechanism (see illustrations).

Schulze, R.. Experimental Psychology and Pedagogy. (Translated by Pintner.) Illustrations in chs- 4, 6, 10.

Sherrington, C. S., "Postural Activity of Nerve and Muscle," Brain, 1915, XXXVIII, 191-234.

James, Wm., Principles of Psychology, vol. II, ch. 25 (pp. 442-47; 477-85).

Dumas, G., "L'expression des emotions," Revue Philosophique, 1922, XLVII, 32-72; 235-58.

Breese, B. B., Psychology, pp. 384-91.


Wundt, W., Essays (2d ed.), no. 7, "Der Ausdruck der Gemutsbewegungen." Leipzig, Engelmann, 1906.

Craig, W., "A Note on Darwin's Work on the Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals," Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology; 1921-22, XVI, 356-66.

Nony, C., "The Biological and Social Significance of the Expression of the Emotions," British Journal of Psychology (General Section), 1922, XIII, 76-91.

Cooley, C. H., Human Nature and the Social Order, eh. 3 (pp. 62-79).

Feleky, A. M., "The Expression of Emotions," Psychological Review, 1914, XXI, 33-41.

Langfeld, H. S., "The Judgment of Emotions from Facial Expressions," Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1918-19, XIII, 172-84.

— "Judgments of Facial Expression and Suggestion," Psychological Review, 1918, XXV, 488-94.

Ruckmick, C. A., "A Preliminary Study of the Emotions," Psychological Monographs, 1921, XXX, no. 3 (whole no. 136), pp. 30-35.

Pintner, R., "Intelligence as Estimated from Photographs," Psychological Review, 1918, xxv, 286-96.

Anderson, L. D., "Estimation of Intelligence by Means of Printed Photographs," Journal of Applied Psychology, 1921, v, 152-55.

Pope, D. V., "The Interpretation of the Human Face from Photographs" (conducted by L. R. Geissler), Bulletin of Randolph-Macon Woman's College, 1922, VIII, no. 4, 3-17.

Stratton, G. M., "The Control of Another Person by Obscure Signs," Psychological Review, 1921, XXVIII, 301-14.


  1. The alae are the rounded prominences at the sides of the lower part of the nostrils.
  2. Not shown in Figure 20.
  3. Except where complicated by such mimetic expressions as disgust.
  4. The pictures have been selected from among 680 modified photographs of a German actor. contained in Heinrich Rudolph's Der Ausdruck des Menschen (Atlas). They are reprinted by special arrangement
  5. The student is advised to prepare a piece of pliable cardboard, about ten inches square, with a rectangular hole in the center the size of one of the small pictures. By placing the opening over each picture examined the expression will be seen with maximum effect.
  6. Study the upper and lower portions of the face separately, covering the unattended portion with a card.
  7. See footnote to p. 95.
  8. Rudolph's entire collection of 680 faces does not present a single example.
  9. Vide infra.
  10. Those who are in the habit of giving oral tests to children know the importance of avoiding such expressions as these.
  11. These reactions belong to the class of ‘emotional gestures’ of Chapter VIII, and are the stock in trade of every actor and elocutionist.
  12. For further illustrations consult the photographs in the textbook portion of Rudolph's work.
  13. Dr. Craig in particular attacks the Darwinian assumption that expressions are useless inherited reflex patterns (see reference cited at the end of this chapter).
  14. Besides, we are far more certain that the baby has screaming fits than that the pre-human adult had them.
  15. Darwin himself seemed to recognize this fact at times. Though his introductory chapter makes use of the `inherited vestiges' notion, relatively little application of it is made in dealing with specific expressions. Disgust he explains solely from infantile behavior.
    The vestige theory has been developed to a rather far-fetched conclusion by Herbert Spencer.
  16. Darwin's theory implies the mimetic theory in that it ascribes the origin of expressions to originally serviceable habits, quite useless in the situations in which they later are called forth; but it does not do justice to the analogical association of certain expressions with particular situations.
  17. Mantegazza cites a number of these 'synonyms of expression.' See his Physiognomy and Expression (English ed.), pp. 90, 91, 103.
  18. A possible exception may occur in the case of some of the anthropoids.
  19. The ideal, reiterated in these schools, of the officer as an upstanding man is a literal recognition of muscle tonus as a power in resisting gravity.
  20. The pseudo-science of physiognomy is phrenology with the `bumps' moved down onto the face. For a modern example, see G. E. Fosbroke's Character Reading through Analysis of the Features. It contains some useful suggestions if read with discrimination.
  21. Many parents assert that their children have inherited their own fears of certain objects, because they have `never said a word about it' to them. The fact is that they have involuntarily said a great deal through the language of emotional expression and bodily attitude. To the child the attitude of the parent is often more significant than words.
  22. A remarkable case, elucidated experimentally by Professor Stratton, is cited in the references at the end of this chapter.
  23. By the use of this method - that is, with names given to choose from - individual differences in the result stand as differences in ability to react to the expression, and not as differences in fluency or vocabulary.
  24. These results confirm the findings of a rather extensive pioneer investigation by Dr. Antoinette Feleky, and are confirmed by a more recent study by Dr. C. A. Ruckmick. Both these investigators, however, found the disgust group interpreted with high accuracy. Photographs of a woman were used in both cases; possibly this expression is more marked or more recognizable on the female face. See references at the end of this chapter.
  25. Darwin, in a slightly different fashion, encountered the same phenomenon (Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals, p. 14).
  26. An interesting difference, however, is shown in the time required to make a decision in regard to the picture. The women made their judgments in about one half the time needed by the men. The inference is that the factors upon which the decision is based are less consciously reasoned (more 'intuitive') with women than with men.
  27. Note that in column I the poorest subject is 36 per cent below the best; after study (column II) she is only 2 per cent below the same person.
  28. For an explanation of correlation see n. 131.

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