Paul Ekman Essays

Paul Ekman Essays-56
The world is being flooded with technology designed to monitor our emotions.

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By the late 1960s, Mead’s views were all but scientific consensus in the West, and emotions were considered far from universal. To understand why Ekman had problems with Mead’s research, we can look to Charles Darwin.

In 1872, he wrote , which points out that some instinctual actions—like raising an eyebrow in surprise—are shared by animals and humans.

More than two millennia ago, Aristotle wrote about how “some men, who are in no sense alike, have the same facial expressions.” Nor was Aristotle the only ancient philosopher who thought this way.

It was received wisdom throughout antiquity, persisting well into the late 17th century.

He mused that “the road to understanding human behavior and getting back to help people like [his mother] was not by looking at abnormal behavior but at normal behavior.”Depression was an emotional disorder, so the man who had idolized Magellan finally found his own quest: to discover if all humans experienced a set of common emotions.

By this time, the 1960s, Ekman wasn’t the only person to have gone searching.

CCTV cameras can track faces through public space, and supposedly detect criminals before they commit crimes.

Autonomous cars will one day be able to spot when drivers get road rage, and take control of the wheel. While the technology is cutting-edge, it’s using an outdated scientific concept stating that all humans, everywhere, experience six basic emotions, and that we each express those emotions in the same way.

Innate emotions were in again, and it was Ekman’s research that was responsible.

It should be noted that Darwin was far from the first to suggest that emotions were innate.


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