Can you recognise emotions?

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Charles Darwin’s early experiments on recognising what he called the Cardinal Emotions ie universally recognised expressions of emotions, have been recreated using the original 11 photographs.

Darwin’s original research was to prove that humans shared expressions with animals thus supporting his theory of evolution.

The results were published in his 1872 book “The Expression of Emotion in Human and Animals”.

Now you can go on-line to make your own judgments about which emotion is being expressed.

Paul Ekman, the expert in body language and micro-expressions on whom the TV series “Lie to Me” was based, followed up Darwin’s work in the 1960s travelling round pre-industrial cultures to see if there really were universal emotional expressions. His findings broadly supported Darwin’s hypothesis.

His company currently trains people to recognise emotional expressions and is also believed to be involved in training Homeland Security and security experts in the UK to develop face-reading skills.

Cambridge University has updated the experiment using video and you can contribute to their research by assessing online video clips.

Recognising emotional expressions is important in variety of research areas such as autism, where sufferers find it difficult to recognise emotional expressions.

Botox users also find it difficult to express emotions through facial expressions, thus making it more difficult for others to read them, and it has been suggested that it actually reduces their level of empathy.

Empathy is one of the cornerstones of emotional intelligence. Being able to recognise other people’s emotional state through non-verbal signs is an important element of EI.

Read the full BBC news story