Discrete Emotions Theory - Evidence For Discrete Emotion Theory

Evidence For Discrete Emotion Theory

A study conducted in New Guinea, where people have never seen Caucasians nor been exposed to photographs or television, to see if they could identify specific facial expressions. Researchers showed the people of New Guinea pictures of people portraying seven different emotions that are known as core emotions, happiness, anger, sadness, disgust, surprise, fear, and contempt (Ekman & Friesen 1971). Researchers found that the people of New Guinea could in fact point out the different emotions and distinguish between them. Various parts in the brain can trigger different emotions. For example, the amygdala is the locus of fear. The amygdala senses fear and it orchestrates physical actions and emotions. From this experiment researchers concluded that these specific emotions are innate. They also looked at pictures of people ranging in age from infants to elders and saw that the core emotions look the same, further supporting the discrete emotion hypothesis. Also, deaf and blind children show typical facial expressions for these same core emotions.

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