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[Xmca-l] Re: Questioning universal core emotions



and speaking to my previous point about problems with methods for studying
this kind of thing, consider the following from the Psy Science piece that
Mike forwarded:

"Himba participants appeared to have a cultural tendency to describe
vocalizations in behavioral terms initially; that is, on most trials, they
first identified the action instead of making a mental-state inference….
For example, instead of describing a vocalization as fearful, they often
used a term that translates to 'scream.'" (p. 913).


Woohoo!

-greg




On Tue, May 6, 2014 at 3:03 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> >
> >
> >
>



-- 
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