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[xmca] Tears as communication
I heard this story about the evolution of tears on NPR yesterday and thought it had some interesting connections to discussions of emotion on XMCA recently (i.e. in the past year):
I think that this suggests that there is great value in seeing emotion as a social matter as much (if not more) as it is a psychological matter. Evolutionarily speaking, this points to Bateson's idea that it isn't the individual organism that should be seen as the unit of analysis in evolutionary analyses (i.e. whether tears are evolutionarily advantageous for an individual) but rather that the individual-in-the-environment should be taken as the unit of analysis (I may be off a bit on my terms here, but hopefully others get the reference). With humans, possibly the most relevant context of the individual organism is the social context. Further evidence for this can be seen in the following story (aired later on the same day here) about an autistic who feels like an 'alien' in comparison to what she calls "neurotypicals".
It includes some narrative by Simon Baron-Cohen (and for the younger set, Wikipedia confirms that Simon Baron-Cohen is Borat's, i.e. Ali-G's, i.e. comedian Sacha Baron-Cohen's cousin. Funny, no? But maybe fitting...). Good stuff.
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