Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On the Nature of Pride

One of the major findings in the behavioral and social sciences is the discovery that a small set of basic emotions have distinct, universally recognized, nonverbal expressions.

This finding promoted widespread acceptance of Darwins (1872) claim that emotions are an evolved part of human nature, but also diverted attention away from emotions assumed to lack universal expressions, such as the unique class of self-conscious emotions.

However, recent research suggests that at least one self-conscious emotion — pride — may fit within the Darwinian framework. Tracy presents a series of studies demonstrating that pride has a distinct nonverbal expression which is reliably and cross-culturally recognized by adults and children, through an automatic cognitive process, and may be an evolved — and certainly a fundamental — part of human nature (Dr. Jessica Tracy, UBC Psychology). 

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