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Human Smiles: Expression of Emotion or Communication Gesture?
Unformatted Document Text:  Kurylo & Frank Smiles and Communication 4 using facial electromyography (EMG), which consists of electrodes that are attached to key areas of the face to measure the muscle movements. These participants also were asked to indicate on a self-report checklist how this video made them feel. Fridlund found that smiling varied monotonically with sociality such that those who viewed the videotape with a friend showed the most smiles, and those who viewed the videotape alone showed the least. Moreover, Fridlund found no relationship between smiling and participants’ self-report of positive emotion. These results support a cultural-relativist perspective because it demonstrates that the display of a smile bears a greater relation to social contact than to felt emotion. Support for a Universal-Biological Facial Expressions of Emotion. In contrast, other researchers have argued that smiles are not only universal across cultures, but they are also the biologically-driven indicator of positive emotion. Specifically, researchers have argued that a limited number of facial expressions are innate behaviors triggered by a physiologically driven and felt emotion, which may have originally served a survival function in our evolutionary history (Darwin, 1872/ 1998; Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1972; Ekman, 1977; Frank, 2003; Izard, 1994; Lorenz, 1965; Plutchik, 1962; Toobey & Cosmides, 1990; Tomkins, 1962; 1963). The data supporting this position was first generated by Darwin (1872/1998), who wrote to informants in many countries asking for descriptions of facial expressions for various emotions. Later, researchers expanded Darwin’s findings by showing posed photographs of facial expressions to observers from various western and eastern cultures (Europe, South America, Africa, Asia); they found that observers consistently and

Authors: Kurylo, Anastacia. and Frank, Mark.
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background image
Kurylo & Frank
Smiles and Communication
4
using facial electromyography (EMG), which consists of electrodes that are attached to
key areas of the face to measure the muscle movements. These participants also were
asked to indicate on a self-report checklist how this video made them feel. Fridlund found
that smiling varied monotonically with sociality such that those who viewed the
videotape with a friend showed the most smiles, and those who viewed the videotape
alone showed the least. Moreover, Fridlund found no relationship between smiling and
participants’ self-report of positive emotion. These results support a cultural-relativist
perspective because it demonstrates that the display of a smile bears a greater relation to
social contact than to felt emotion.
Support for a Universal-Biological Facial Expressions of Emotion.
In contrast, other researchers have argued that smiles are not only universal across
cultures, but they are also the biologically-driven indicator of positive emotion.
Specifically, researchers have argued that a limited number of facial expressions are
innate behaviors triggered by a physiologically driven and felt emotion, which may have
originally served a survival function in our evolutionary history (Darwin, 1872/ 1998;
Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1972; Ekman, 1977; Frank, 2003; Izard, 1994; Lorenz, 1965; Plutchik,
1962; Toobey & Cosmides, 1990; Tomkins, 1962; 1963).
The data supporting this position was first generated by Darwin (1872/1998), who
wrote to informants in many countries asking for descriptions of facial expressions for
various emotions. Later, researchers expanded Darwin’s findings by showing posed
photographs of facial expressions to observers from various western and eastern cultures
(Europe, South America, Africa, Asia); they found that observers consistently and


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