Unlike animals, humans are as well adapted as possible to communicate with each other. Not only do we have a very developed speech, but we can also express our emotions with the help of facial expressions. Sometimes a smile or furrowed eyebrows can say more than a thousand words spoken, and not all living organisms can boast of this skill. Perhaps, facial expressions are well developed in monkeys, but clearly not as much as in ours. Recently, scientists from the American state of California became interested in how much human facial expressions have changed over time. Suppose someday a time machine is invented and a representative of one of the ancient peoples meets a modern man. Of course, we will not be able to understand his spoken language. But will we understand what the ancient man wants to say with the help of facial expressions?
The evolution of facial expressions
Science Alert shared the answer to the unusual question that American scientists asked. The cultures of ancient peoples were very different from modern ones. In ancient times, most problems were resolved by bloody wars, animals and even people were sacrificed to the gods. From all this it follows that ancient people could react in a completely different way to situations that arise in life. For example, they could express joy, sadness, fatigue, and so on in a different way. But, in the framework of the conducted scientific work, American researchers found that people express important emotions in the same way. The culture and time in which a person lives do not affect facial expressions in any way.
Выражения лица могут имитировать даже роботы. Рекомендую почитать об одном из них.
This has been proven in an experiment with 325 volunteers. Researchers have collected photographs of 63 ancient sculptures made by the Maya people about 3,500 years ago. The images represented people in different situations. As an example, in the form of sculptures, people were depicted in captivity and screaming in pain. At the same time, the volunteers were shown photographs of people working, hugging and doing other things. In the photographs, only the faces of the sculptures were visible – what the depicted people were doing remained behind the scenes. This is because it was important for the purity of the experiment that the volunteers did not understand the context of the artwork. The main goal was to understand whether modern people will be able to recognize the emotions on the faces of the peoples of the past.
To the surprise of the study authors, the volunteers were excellent at counting the emotions on the sculptures' faces. They identified with high accuracy how the ancient people depicted 5 most important facial expressions:
- and sadness.
It turns out that thousands of years ago, facial expressions of people worked the same way as we do at the moment. It is likely that the ability to express emotions with the help of facial muscles is inherent in us by nature. The above five facial expressions can be called universal for representatives of all peoples of various time periods. They are timeless and, most likely, in the same way emotions will express emotions of our descendants. And yes, if it happens that we meet with ancient people, we will understand the expressions on each other's faces. There is no doubt about this, and the experiment carried out is an excellent proof of this.
But other emotions like shock and threat look different for many nations. For example, in Russia and the USA, if a person suddenly opens his mouth and breathes in air with the sound "Ah!", It means that he is shocked by something. And in some African tribes, this expression can be perceived as deterrence and readiness to attack. These differences between the means of expressing emotions are still very poorly understood, so scientists should do some research work.
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On the topic of expressing emotions through movements of the muscles of the face, I wrote other material. In it, I described how Canadian scientists conducted an experiment in which people watched videos of cats and tried to recognize the emotions on their faces. It turned out that these fluffy creatures really have facial expressions, but only 15% of people can understand what they want to say. This unusual skill is mostly found in people who have frequent contact with animals. So, in the experiment, veterinarians demonstrated themselves in the best way. You can read more about this study here .