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[Xmca-l] Re: Questioning universal core emotions



Hi Ed.

I started the trouble here by posting the following story which purported
to report on the work of Lisa Barrett.

http://www.psypost.org/2014/03/the-six-universal-facial-expressions-are-not-universal-cross-cultural-study-shows-23471

That post started a discussion that began with methodology and appears to
have morphed into personal views of the matter.

I promised in the original post to find the article referred to in the
story, but got caught up in other matters and let it go. I should have done
so BEFORE I posted the story, which was, in my view now, misleading with
respect, at least, to this published paper. The paper in Emotion has not
appeared so far as I can tell.

Back to methodology?
mike



On Tue, May 6, 2014 at 1:19 PM, Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:

> Perhaps of interest is Amelie Rorty's edited volume Explaining Emotions.
> In any case, emotion is a large category as is expression.
>
> In any case, I admit to some confusion. Is the ongoing conversation about
> 'expressing' emotion or about 'feellng' or, perhaps, 'experiencing' emotion.
>
> Ed Wall
>
> On May 6, 2014, at  2:28 PM, Elinami Swai wrote:
>
> > I believe that pain, just like feeling is universal. But I also
> > believe that emotion (which we can also call expression) is learned
> > and thus may differ from one individual to another. We make
> > interpretations of emotion and expression from our own points of view.
> >
> >
> > On 5/6/14, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> >> David, although I am sure that sensations cannot be taken as universal
> >> either, since it is unlikely that there is anything remaining after the
> >> interprettion of the "sensation" is abstracted. However, it is
> >> nonetheless a different claim to say that human sensation is not
> >> universal, as to say human emotion (by which is meant I think "feeling")
> >> is not universal. Let's suppose all are experiencing pain: they are all
> >> clearly feeling different about it.
> >>
> >> Or was that your point?
> >>
> >> Andy
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> *Andy Blunden*
> >> http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> >>
> >>
> >> David Kellogg wrote:
> >>> Suppose I put together a set of pictures of people undergoing torture,
> in
> >>> which some people appeared to be experiencing the torture stoically,
> >>> others
> >>> with resignation, still others with agony, and some with something that
> >>> appears to be laughter.
> >>>
> >>> I think I could probably crop the photographs and pose questions in
> such
> >>> a
> >>> way that I could very convincingly demonstrate that pain is not a
> >>> universal
> >>> human sensation. Not only that, I could probably put together a sorting
> >>> exercise that would come to the same conclusion.
> >>>
> >>> David Kellogg
> >>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> On 5 May 2014 01:24, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>> I have a colleague down the hall, David Crandall, that has been
> working
> >>>> among the Himba for almost 30 years. I also have three students headed
> >>>> to
> >>>> do research among the Himba in a month. So I've been picking up some
> >>>> interesting details about the Himba.
> >>>>
> >>>> It seems like it is true that they have increasingly had contact with
> >>>> Western culture, as evidenced by recent protests in some of the larger
> >>>> cities that were staged by Himba opposed to the building of a dam that
> >>>> would cause flooding of some of the burial sites of their ancestors (
> >>>> http://www.huntingtonnews.net/84854).
> >>>>
> >>>> At the same time, they are non-numerate people that lack some of the
> key
> >>>> Western institutions where kids learn (oddly enough) about "emotions"
> >>>> (think of those pictures of happy and sad faces that Western schooling
> >>>> takes into the classroom as the MEANS by which they teach literacy -
> >>>> these
> >>>> means of teaching literacy always entail certain cultural ends - such
> as
> >>>> "emotion" - concepts that are not emic concepts).
> >>>>
> >>>> Among the western institutions that the Himba lack, the Himba lack the
> >>>> Western model of schooling (one of my students is doing research on
> this
> >>>> very issue). It is only in the last 15 years or so that Himba have
> begun
> >>>> sending their children to school, and now only in small numbers. The
> >>>> Himba
> >>>> are very skeptical of schools since, in their opinion, the schools
> don't
> >>>> teach their children anything worthwhile. Knowing how to count is
> >>>> unimportant to them since although they are non-numerate they are able
> >>>> to
> >>>> keep track of large herds of cattle because they know each of their
> >>>> cattle
> >>>> individually and can recognize when one is missing. But what really
> >>>> matters
> >>>> are things like knowing how to properly honor one's ancestors. If one
> >>>> fails
> >>>> to do that properly, then then ancestors will cause bad things to
> happen
> >>>> to
> >>>> oneself. That is much more important than knowing how to count.
> >>>>
> >>>> Carol, I also agree with your concerns with the methodology of the
> >>>> study,
> >>>> it may not be reasonable to assume that this research is the same as
> the
> >>>> Ekman tasks and of-course it is a Western-type task (but one might
> argue
> >>>> that it is less so than the Ekman tasks since it is more open,
> >>>> arguable).
> >>>>
> >>>> So Carol, I wonder what conclusions you would draw from your critique.
> >>>> Are
> >>>> emotions universal?
> >>>> I wonder if there is a further possibility that these psychologists
> are
> >>>> missing. Is it possible that "emotions" are not universal in quite a
> >>>> different sense? Perhaps that the very category of "emotion" is not
> >>>> universal?
> >>>>
> >>>> I think this research points in that direction - when viewing a
> picture
> >>>> of
> >>>> a face, people do not necessarily assume that the person in the
> picture
> >>>> is
> >>>> "emoting". I assume that this would be true among Westerners as well,
> >>>> but
> >>>> that possibility doesn't present itself in the research methodology
> >>>> since
> >>>> Westerners are asked "what emotion is this?" The task is already
> defined
> >>>> by
> >>>> the domain called "emotion" (with which they are already very
> familiar).
> >>>>
> >>>> Anthropologists have done great work to show the problems with taking
> >>>> Western defined domains into non-Western contexts (e.g. the domain of
> >>>> "kinship" - David Schneider, the domain of "color" - John Lucy). The
> >>>> argument is that even though this research turns up results that seem
> to
> >>>> suggest that the domains are real even in non-Western contexts, the
> >>>> findings are plagued by the fact that they assume these domains and
> >>>> force
> >>>> these non-Western subjects into choosing within the pre-defined
> domain.
> >>>>
> >>>> But then again, perhaps "emotion" is a universal category?
> >>>> -greg
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> On Sun, May 4, 2014 at 7:55 AM, Carol Macdonald <
> carolmacdon@gmail.com
> >>>>
> >>>>> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Well Mike
> >>>>>
> >>>>> I am here working in Namibia for the year, and I would like to know
> >>>>> where
> >>>>> these Himba people are.  I mean the ones referred to in the article:
> I
> >>>>> am
> >>>>> not sure they are *so *isolated - they are well recognised as one of
> >>>>> the
> >>>>> language groups.  And I think there is also an elephant in the room
> >>>>> here.
> >>>>> This is a western-type task, and Luria would have been quick to point
> >>>>>
> >>>> that
> >>>>
> >>>>> out. What makes this woman think that this task would be the
> equivalent
> >>>>>
> >>>> to
> >>>>
> >>>>> the others.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Just a couple of basic principles to cast a small aspersion on this
> >>>>> research.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Carol
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> On 4 May 2014 14:16, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> Perhaps of interest
> >>>>>> mike
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>
> http://www.psypost.org/2014/03/the-six-universal-facial-expressions-are-not-universal-cross-cultural-study-shows-23471
> >>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> --
> >>>>> Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> >>>>> Developmental psycholinguist
> >>>>> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
> >>>>> Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> --
> >>>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> >>>> Assistant Professor
> >>>> Department of Anthropology
> >>>> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> >>>> Brigham Young University
> >>>> Provo, UT 84602
> >>>> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> > --
> > Dr. Elinami Swai
> > Senior Lecturer
> > Associate Dean
> > Coordinator, Postgraduate Studies
> > Faculty of Education
> > Open University of Tanzania
> > P.O.Box 23409
> > Dar-Es-Salaam
> > Tell:255-022-2668992/2668820/2668445/26687455
> > Fax:022-2668759
> > Cell: (255) 076-722-8353; (255) 068-722-8353
> > http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Womens-Empowerment-Africa-Dislocation/dp/
> > 0230102484
> >        ...this faith will still deliver
> >        If you live it first to last
> >        Not everything which blooms must
> >        wither.
> >        Not all that was is past
>
>
>

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