Darwin on the emotions

Originally posted at ouhos.org, the now-discontinued blog of the OU History of Science Collections. Neither this post nor any of its content should be taken as an official communication of the University of Oklahoma.


Darwin@the Library info | Exhibit brochure (pdf)

In 1872, to illustrate continuities between humans and animals, Charles Darwin explored the expression of the emotions. Dogs have an amazing ability to convey emotions.

Darwin, Emotions (1872), dog

Cats, also, can be affectionate or savage.

Darwin, Emotion (1872), cat

Darwin, Emotion (1872), cat

Darwin described a chimpanzee as disappointed and sulky.

Darwin, Emotions (1872), chimpanzee

Darwin showed that the intricate muscles of the face enable humans and animals to express an astonishing variety of emotions.

Darwin, Emotions (1872), face

For example, the following heliotype (an early form of photography) from a psychiatric hospital in France showed how the expression of emotion could be imitated by applying electrodes to the facial muscles.

Darwin, Emotions (1872), heliotype

Darwin@the Library info | Exhibit brochure (pdf)

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