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[Xmca-l] Re: What Faces Can't Tell Us

Thanks Greg--you're making my point much better than I have.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Greg Thompson
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 5:12 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: What Faces Can't Tell Us


Your concern here reminds me of the issue that John Lucy raises with the use of Munsell color chips to determine whether one's language affects one's perception of color. In his essay "The Linguistics of 'color'", John argues that using Munsell chips is problematic because it inscribes "color"
as THE domain to be perceived when, in fact, many of the languages of the world include other qualia in their color terms. Thus, by limiting the respondents' options to just the Munsell array, one is categorically ruling out possible relativity effects of languages that are different from our own in the way that they slice up the world.

Here are John's words (better than mine but also a bit longer):
"This array consisted of a selection from a set of Munsell color samples which varied on hue, saturation, and brightness. As a representative of everyday contexts, the array was very restricted, both in its exclusive focus on color and in the kinds of colors presented (e.g., including no variation in luster, luminosity, or reflectance). In a sense, the stimulus array dictated in advance the possible meanings the terms could have since no other meanings were embodied in the samples. Although restricted in this way, the stimulus array was also very complex, and the labeling task performed with it forced informants to make referential microcomparisons and judgments of a sort rarely encountered in daily life. The task assumed that speech is about labeling accuracy rather than situational intelligibility..." (p. 323)

It is possible that these lab studies of emotion are onto something, but it seems that one would want to see ethnographic work that explores what terms people in these cultures use and, more importantly, how they actually USE these terms as they go about their daily lives. But that is a much bigger project...


On Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 4:50 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:

> Briefly, my beef comes from the interpretation of a response to a 
> facial expression outside the context of how such an expression might 
> authentically be generated in response to something real. Maybe it's 
> just my own difficulty in reading social cues as a high-functioning 
> Asperger's case, and the problems that are exacerbated by the 
> decontextualization of the expressions in a lab setting.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
> Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2014 9:01 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: What Faces Can't Tell Us
> Peter. "The lab" ? Ruled out?
> I read Martin as saying that context and interpretation would be central.
> Is it this particular study you are apparently disagreeing about?  He 
> says its better than universalism (a la Ekman, I assume). No 'round 
> here more sensitive to issues of experimental (laboratory?) studies 
> and cross cultural research so I am a little lost.
> I have not had a chance to read John Shotter's piece that Larry sent 
> and wants to discuss. I am assuming they are part of the same 
> discussion.Is that supposition correct?
> I am a little confused. What is at issue here?
> Help gratefully accepted.
> mike
> On Mon, Mar 3, 2014 at 3:03 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:
> > I don't think the only alternative to universals is a different form 
> > of individualized, acontextual inferencing. There's no effort to 
> > understand how the "subjects" from tribal societies came to form 
> > their responses. I don't see the lab as having any potential for a 
> > cultural-historical approach.
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: xmca-l-bounces+smago=uga.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > xmca-l-bounces+smago=uga.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Martin 
> > xmca-l-bounces+John
> > Packer
> > Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2014 7:17 PM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: What Faces Can't Tell Us
> >
> > On Mar 2, 2014, at 1:55 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@UGA.EDU> wrote:
> >
> > > If faces do not "speak for themselves," how do we manage to "read"
> > > other
> > people? The answer is that we don't passively recognize emotions but 
> > actively perceive them, drawing heavily (if unwittingly) on a wide 
> > variety of contextual clues -- a body position, a hand gesture, a 
> > vocalization, the social setting and so on.
> >
> > Peter, can you say more about why this bothered you? Yes, it's 
> > laboratory research, but personally I find these conclusions more 
> > convincing than the notion that there is a universal code of facial
> muscle movements.
> >
> > Martin
> >
> >
> >
> >

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

Status: O