In the last post we looked at the eight Rasas and how they are related to the eight color terms and the eight basic emotions.
Another list of basic emotions follows from the work of Carroll Izard; Izard is interested in the infants facial expressions and believes that due to lack of socialization etc there is perfect concordance between the infants facial expressions and infants emotional states. As such he has come up with a list of 10 basic facial emotional expressions as found in babies, and if we include Shanta rasa as another rasa in Navrasas then we can try to map that with the Izard’s list. That list (in no particular evolutionary / developmental order) and the mapping with navaras is given below:
1. Interest-excitement: Veera
2. Enjoyment-joy: Hasya
3. Startle- surprise : Abdhuta
4. distress- anguish: Karuna
5. Rage- anger: Raudra
6. disgust- revulsion: Bibhetsa
7. Contempt-scorn: Shringar (reverse scored)?
8. Fear-terror : Bhayanak
9. Shame-shyness-humiliation: Shringar (normally scored)?
10. Guilt-remorse : Shanta?
Now, today’s discussion centers around basic emotions as gleaned from infants facial expressions. There have been people, like Camras, who have opposed this approach saying that in infants the same emotion expressions of anger and sadness cannot be distinguished as also the same states (emotional stimuli) can lad to different emotional facial expressions. There had also been research suggesting that phobic patients show disgust reaction rather than fear reactions to fearful stimuli; thus some concern that fear and disgust are mixed/ indistinguishable.
It is instructive to pause here and return to the Eight rasas theory whereby there are four primary Rasas and the rest of the four rasas are derived from those primary rasas.
It is said that Sringara, Rowdra, Veera and Bibhatsa are the main Rasas and the others Hasya, Karuna, Adbhuta and Bhaya are derived from the former four. That means that from Sringara comes Hasya; from Rowdra comes Karuna; from Veera comes Adbhuta and from Bibhatsa comes Bhaya.
Thus, there are four constellations:
1. Karuna- Raudra: or that of sadness – anger.
2. Bhayanak- bibhitsa : or that of Fear – disgust
3. Hasya- Shringar : or that of joy-affection (love)
4. Adbhuta- Veera: or that of surprise- Interest.
In the light of above it is easy to see why Anger and sadness expressions may be mixed or why People in fearful , phobic situations may show disgust reactions; after all they are closely tied together.
That also brings me to research by Katherine Bridges and Sroufe, whereby they delineate how emotions and emotional expressions develop from diffuse to discrete emotions. As per the following table based on Bridges work, the emotions generally start with a diffuse excitement and slowly develop into discrete basic emotions like sadness, anger, fear, disgust, joy, affection, interest and surprise.
This can also be viewed schematically as follows, with diffuse emotional states leading to discrete emotions as the infant develops.
To me, the above looks very promising and supports multiple lines of evidence regarding both the exact content of basic emotions and how they develop/ are related to each other.
Camras, L., & Shutter, J. (2010). Emotional Facial Expressions in Infancy Emotion Review, 2 (2), 120-129 DOI: 10.1177/1754073909352529
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