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You can tell a lot about a person’s emotional state by looking at their face.
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(From the article): You can tell a lot about a person’s emotional state by looking at their face. A quick glance can give you an idea of whether a person is, say, happy or angry, allowing you to modify your behaviour accordingly.
The rapid and accurate recognition of some emotional states – particularly fear or anger – would have been advantageous in our evolutionary history. For instance, being able to determine when someone is angry with you might give you time to run away before they attack.
For this reason, you might think the way emotions are expressed on the face would be the same across all races and not substantially influenced by culture.
But new research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by psychologist Rachael Jack and colleagues seems to show this isn’t the case.