Saturday, December 24, 2011

Emotional displays

Even in ancient times, the discoverers of unknown lands have noticed that the locals are utterly unfamiliar with the mores and manners of the newcomers, express their feelings in the same way. In Madagascar, and Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, and in Polynesia made to nod in agreement, frowning from discontent, and smile with joy. It would seem that all members of species Homo Sapiens characterized by the same feelings and manners of expression.

However, the unsettled features inherent in certain countries and peoples. For example, the Chinese, for the first time faced with the Europeans could not understand why the guests are angry all the time. The Americans looked with amazement local curiosities, wide-eyed and involuntarily raising his eyebrows. It turns out that China is customary to express anger in this way.

If you ask a Japanese friend about life, among other things, he will tell you about the death of his daughter ... with a smile on his face. There is an age-old tradition - to inform about their troubles with a smile, especially in conversation with the senior or superior persons.
So they try to downplay the significance of trouble, not to spoil the mood of his interlocutor. They also listen to the rebuke with a smile, that we would find intolerable impertinence.

The inhabitants of the Andaman Islands suzestvuet another unusual tradition. During reconciliation, or at a meeting after a long time ... they are crying. Moreover, people are doing it very sincerely and naturally. Such is the cultural norm that developed over the centuries.

There is a legend in Bulgaria. Many centuries ago, the Turkish conquerors under pain of death, tried to persuade the Bulgarian Patriarch to renounce his religion. They placed a scimitar to his throat and asked the old man if he would accept Islam. Shake one's head meant certain death. "No," - replied the hero and looked up at the same time, even for a moment to extend his life. Since then, following the example of folk hero, the Bulgarians use gestures agreement - disagreement is not so, as all other nations, but exactly the opposite. This often leads to confusion of foreigners, who visiting the country. However, the majority of Bulgarians who left his native country abroad, recognize that it takes only a couple of months to adjust to the conventional manner in the world. And when they return home they experience the same difficulties as foreign tourists.

So what is inherent in our behavior by nature, and that we acquire in the process of education?

There is an interesting psychological theory explaining the origin and manifestation of human emotion.
More than a hundred years ago, an American psychologist William James said: If you cut off the external display of emotion, then there is nothing left of it at all. Moreover, the observed symptoms - this is not the result of emotion, but its cause. According to this theory, we first need to cry or frown, and only then we will feel grief or sadness.

Regardless of the James in the same years, this hypothesis suggested Danish anatomist C. Langer, and since then it is known in science as the James-Lange theory.

What is the practical conclusion that follows from this paradoxical theory? Pragmatic Americans found it very quickly. A connoisseur of human psychology Dale Carnegie, referring to the ideas of James, made a simple conclusion: To call a pleasant experience, we must behave as though it is now.
Do you have a problem or a bad mood? Throw away melancholy and sadness! Smile! Smile always and everywhere, and you really feel cheerful.
Obviously, people try to avoid people with gloomy faces. Each missing their problems, and do not want to face another and with others. In contrary, a person with an optimistic smile  always meet the response and relative position.

Carnegie book became a sort of textbook of life for millions of Americans, the arch of unconditional rules of conduct. Politicians, businessmen, traders and marketing agents continually smiling to their partners and customers. If on the  American  face there is no a duty smile, it means that he feel too bad.

But, one might question: Are smiling Americans  more cheerful and optimistic than, for example,  Russian? Can a smile help forget the worries? If people smile always, then slips into question the sincerity of a smile. May be the  James theory is wrong ?

The fact that a set of emotional experience is much richer and broader than the range of physical manifestations. We all know that a person may tremble (James says, "we are afraid, because I tremble"). But we know also that tremor can be caused by anger or even sexual arousal. Similarly, the tears - a symbol of grief and sorrow. But there are tears of anger and even tears of joy.

In addition, emotional displays are largely determined by cultural norms. For example, in Russia are suspicious of American-smile. There used to think that reflects a genuine expression of human spirit and is an indicator of sincerity. Therefore, in Russia the  smile without obvious reason seems to be unpleasant. 

Expression of feelings manners people learns from an early age. With age it becomes more difficult, affecting cargo learned stereotypes. In addition, important an individual psychological characteristics.

Anyway, you must be born a Russian, an Italian or a Swede - in the sense that we are in early childhood learns the culture of manners communication of particular people. An example may be blacks Russians, who were born and raised in Russia. In their manners they are more Russian than negros. Because learning is easier than retraining.

Do you agree? If YES, you're probably have nodded, unless you are Bulgarian. And if you liked the thought expressed, then you smile, if not, then you frown or even curled his lips in disapproval grimace. 

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