Human Facial Expression

An Evolutionary View


  • Alan Fridlund, University of California, Santa Barbara, U.S.A.

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Research professionals, academics, and students in social psychology, personality psychophysiology, and evolutionary psychology; anthropologists and sociologists.


Book information

  • Published: August 1994
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-267630-7


" excellent advanced text. It includes an astute discussion of Darwin's work on emotional facial expression and how it is often misunderstood, an in-depth consideration of the implications of contemporary evolutionary theory for understanding facial expression, and basic information about the neuropsychology of the face... thorough and accessible... difficult points are often clarified and extended through the effective use of footnotes and figures. Beyond serving as the main text for courses on facial expression, I believe the volume is suitable as a supplementary text for more general courses on nonverbal communication or evolutionary science...highly interesting. I am quite enthusiastic about the presentation of the behavioral ecology approach, which I find to be highly sophisticated and compelling... this perspective represents a theoretical advance that gives students of facial expression much to ponder. I believe that the position Fridlund has advanced is important and thought provoking, and that it should be carefully studied by all serious scholars of facial expression and emotion. If we take Fridlund's ideas seriously, and incorporate them into ourthinking as appropriate, our theories will benefit greatly."

"This text presents an almost perfect overview and meta-analysis of the state of the art and beyond. It covers the historical, logical, methodological, biological and psychological bases of extant research on facial expression, and proposes a new theoryand a host of derived hypotheses and ways to test them...The book is a profoundly scholarly review with an illuminating prospect. It is a must for all interested in communication, especially those involved in research on human interaction. It is up to date, richly and well illustrated, written with exceptionally clear language and logic, and particularly penetrating and disturbing."
--Alain Schmitt, Universitat Wien, in HUMAN ETHOLOGY BULLETIN
"As a social psychologist who has branched out into behavioral ecology, Fridlund is uniquely suited to undertake this exposition and critique...His expertise ranges from evolutionary biology to muscle physiology and anthropology, resulting in a wide-ranging and well informed presentation of a large number of relevant topics. The book combines a presentation of modern behavioral ecological views of human facial displays and nonverbal communication with a critical, reasoned and fair discussion of currentemotional theories that stress the importance of facial displays of emotion. The evidence adduced ranges from biology to experimental psychology, from contemporary ethology to clincial neurology. It is the definitive and exhaustive current treatment of human facial expression. Its reexamination of Darwin's book, spelling out the motives behind its writing and the message that Darwin delivered, is a brilliant contribution to the history of evolution as well as to an understanding of current and past trends.... The book has no real competitors, being unusual in the depth and breadth of its coverage."
--GEORGE MANDLER, University of California
n Human Facial Expression, Alan Fridlund approaches the literature on facial expression like a Samurai in one of Kirosawas glorious epics, slashing at conceptual giants such as Darwin and Ekman with poise and unquestionable courage... Fridlund hascollated a massive amount of data on the neurobiological and psychological mechanisms underlying emotional expression, in addition to providing several carefully developed hypotheses for the evolutionary origins and adaptive significance of such expressions.... The end product is a book that shows the extraordinary power of Darwinian thinking and emphasizes the point that like the human eye, heart, and foot, psychological processes have also beens haped by natural selection."
--MARC HAUSER, Harvard University Department of Anthropology
"This major treatise on the evolution of facial behaviour presents the most radical and controversial view on the topic since Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872)."

Table of Contents

Pre-Darwinian Views on Facial Expression.Darwin's Anti-Darwinism in Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.Facial Expression and the Methods of Contemporary Evolutionary Research.Mechanisms for the Evolution of Facial Expressions.Facial Hardware: The Nerves and Muscles of the Face.Facial Reflexes and the Ontogeny of Facial Displays.Emotions versus Behavioral Ecology Views of Facial Expression: Theory and Concepts.Emotions versus Behavioral Ecology Views of Facial Expression: The State of the Evidence.Introduction: Cross-Cultural Studies of Facial Expressions of Emotion.Is There Universal Recognition of Emotion from Facial Expression?A Review of Cross-Cultural Studies, by James A. Russell.How Do We Account for Both Universal and Regional Variations in Facial Expressions of Emotion?Facial Paralanguage and Gesture.Epilogue: The Study of Facial Displays--Where Do We Go from Here?References.Author Index.Subject Index.