The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals

The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals

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The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin

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1899

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The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals

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Book Excerpt

Gratiolet appears to overlook inherited habit, and even to some extent habit in the individual; and therefore he fails, as it seems to me, to give the right explanation, or any explanation at all, of many gestures and expressions. As an illustration of what he calls symbolic movements, I will quote his remarks (p. 37), taken from M. Chevreul, on a man playing at billiards. "Si une bille devie legerement de la direction que le joueur pretend zlui imprimer, ne l'avez-vous pas vu cent fois la pousser du regard, de la tete et meme des epaules, comme si ces mouvements, purement symboliques, pouvaient rectifier son trajet? Des mouvements non moins significatifs se produisent quand la bille manque d'une impulsion suffisante. Et cliez les joueurs novices, ils sont quelquefois accuses au point d'eveiller le sourire sur les levres des spectateurs." Such movements, as it appeirs to me, may be attributed simply to habit. As often as a man has wished to move an object to one side, he has always pushed it to that side when forwards, he has pushed it forwards; and if he has wished to arrest it, he has pulled backwards. Therefore, when a man sees his ball travelling in a wrong direction, and he intensely wishes it to go in another direction, he cannot avoid, from long habit, unconsciously performing movements which in other cases he has found effectual.

As an instance of sympathetic movements Gratiolet gives (p. 212) the following case:--"un jeune chien A oreilles droites, auquel son maitre presente de loin quelque viande appetissante, fixe avec ardeur ses yeux sur cet objet dont il suit tous les mouvements, et pendant que les yeux regardent, les deux oreilles se portent en avant comme si cet objet pouvait etre entendu."

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