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The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,084 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Synopsis Published in 1872, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was a book at the very heart of Darwin's research interests - a central pillar of his 'human' series. This book engaged some of the hardest questions in the evolution debate, and it showed the ever-cautious Darwin at his boldest. If Darwin had one goal with Expression , it was to demonstrate the ...more
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published August 14th 2006 by (first published 1872)
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Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Let me tell you how I got to this book.

You may already know the dictum of Jean Paul Sartre about animals as ‘animated things’, that is animals are moving things without emotions. This has revolted me always, but only recently I delved into this, subsequent to my encounter with a calf.

I have been observing this calf being licked tenderly by its mother cow, particularly on his head. This is a calf that always stays away from the rest of the calves. Then, after he came to see me over a number of d
Meirav Rath
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historians, Darwin fans, human behavior fans
Shelves: zoology
This book is more a historical document than a scientific paper, by today's requirements for scientific documents.
Darwing collects here his notes on the expressions of humans with a single chapter about animals and some referrences to monkeys, so the title is highly misleading (it annoyed me, anyways).

Despite that, this work is at the root of understanding both human and animal behavior and the three principles of expression are now evidently the base of every modern theory on animal and human b
Catherine O'Sullivan
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: victorian
Warning: if you read this book in a public space - like, say, a Subway - you will absent-mindedly start contorting your face in line with the facial expressions described in this book.
Under-appreciated historic classic and sadly, most updated textbook we have on the subject.
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Make sure you read the Paul Ekman-edited new version. Darwin, of course, is a genius, and this book seems so modern so as to be unimpressive for our era. It was ahead of its time in its cross-cultural analysis in Darwin's era, and even in the 60s Darwin's theories caused a scandal in the anthropology field between a then-established Margaret Mead, and the young Paul Ekman. Do not skip the intro, where this fascinating meta-story is told! ...more
Mohamedridha Alaskari محمد رضا العسكري
Charles Darwin has started his argument in this book on three principles;
1- the movements which are serviceable in gratifying some desire or in relieving some sensation.
2- Antithesis: the habit of voluntarily performing opposite movements under opposite impulses has become firmly established in us by the practice of our whole lives.
3- The direct action of the excited nervous system on the body, independently of the will, and independently, in large part, of the habit.

On the one hand I have seen
Mengsen Zhang
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Darwin was definitely a genius! This book reveals him as an ultra observant naturalist and have great imagination and abstraction. Among the three principles of expression, the 2nd- the principle of antithesis - reminded me a lot of ancient greek thoughts, e.g. unity of the opposites, - and a much neglected point by modern neuroscientists.
Nonetheless, one thing he struggled too much about is to find *one* or *only a few* reasons for the origin of the expression of a specific emotion. I may thin
I don't think I'm ever going to finish this cover to cover so here goes...

Good book. Obviously not a story, but it's a fascinating observation of how emotions are expressed. Darwin well documents where all his deduction comes from, if he suspects the credibility of anything and why... and so on. If you're studying Enlightenment/Humanities/anything along those lines, it's also a good firsthand look into the MO and influences of thinkers of the time.

Nevermind how notable Darwin is.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In On the Origin of Species (1859), Charles Darwin explained how species originate via a continuous process of natural selection that shapes organisms, over eons of time, into the funtioning complexities that they are, suited for a particular way of life. In The Descent of Man (1871), Darwin applied his theory of evolution by natural selection to mankind. The difference between mankind and animals is one of degree, not of kind: there are vestiges in man of our animal past and there are primitive ...more
Bob Nichols
In this book Darwin writes mostly about the overt expressions of emotions, not about their evolutionary function or, for that matter, what constitutes an emotion (versus sensation, feeling, affect, passion). And, at times, it's not clear if Darwin is describing an emotion itself or its expression. The value of this book, following his "Origins" and "Descent" books, is that Darwin suggests a universal innateness in certain human emotional expressions and their close tie to the non-human animal wo ...more
Prooost Davis
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
When presented the theory of evolution, Darwin's contemporaries were willing to agree with it up to a point, but many people still wanted to believe that humans were a special case (uniquely created by God), much too advanced intellectually and morally to be related to the lower animals; others were upset that the theory said that Europeans were related to races they considered savage. Darwin wrote this book, as well as "Descent of Man," to demonstrate the similarities in behavior between man an ...more
Philippe Malzieu
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For everybody, Darwin is only associated wit the theory of évolution. By this book, the last one, he is also one of the father of éthology, the science of animal comportment.
He defines 6 elementary feelings which are for him universal in the animal kingdom. Things evolved. There are now computing tools to model the feelings. The eyebrow plays a major role in this expression. Darwin had noted its relative immobility to the chimpanzee. According to Popper, it would contradict the theory.
We know
Dominique Renison
Incredibly interesting book, while some parts are funny by todays standards (sometimes the comparisons with retards/mentally ill and aboriginals is a bit racist and non PC to the point of being laugh out loud hilarious) it is a very educational piece of work which gives a excellent analysis of which emotions and expressions are innate and which are learned. Darwin was such a revolutionary thinker. I enjoy anything he wrote.
This book made my skin crawl, frankly. I never had any doubt that human emotions were the same as 'animal' emotions, and were often expressed the same way. But Darwin's description of his research strategy reveals appalling cruelty in the way animals (particularly zoo animals) were treated in the Victorian era--there are several descriptions of how animals resond to being beaten, for example. ...more
Nikos Korexenidis
Outdated. Only useful as historical reference. Paul Ekman has better book for facial expressions
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brown
Charles Darwin first became famous for his book "Voyage of the Beagle" (the actual title was a lot longer than that), and is of course best remembered for writing "On the Origin of Species". If this book is remembered at all, nowadays, it is as a footnote. Who knows, perhaps that is justified. It is hard to top "Origin of Species", after all, for impact.

But, in addition to its intrinsic interest, I found this book fascinating because of what it reveals about Charles Darwin, the person. The man w
Diana Chamma
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
‘I put my face close to the thick glass-plate in front of a puff-adder in the Zoological Gardens, with the firm determination of not starting back if the snake struck at me; but, as soon as the blow was struck, my resolution went for nothing, and I jumped a yard or two backwards with astonishing rapidity. My will and reason were powerless against the imagination of a danger which had never been experienced.’ (22)

‘_Astonishment, Terror_--A living fresh-water turtle was placed at my request in the
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Is the expression of emotions something inherited or are they learned from our interactions with each other? Is a smile universal? How about a nod of the head to indicate the affirmative? Nature vs. nurture is the question. Coming from Darwin, one expects there to be a “nature” response which, for the most part, there is. That doesn’t mean it’s all “nature” which, I think, Darwin acknowledges. He spends a lot of time writing about the displays of emotions, what causes them, how similar emotions ...more
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
For a book that was published 150 years ago, it's hard to not compare its findings to the modern era. Darwin had some great ideas about emotions, humanity and how we have evolved with our animal family. I did my PhD in this area (and read many books since, including de Waal's great "Mama's last hug" which deals with this very topic) and a lot of the claims feel dated and stale - and of course they are. I had to keep reminding myself that he was one of the first people to work in this area and cu ...more
May 31, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I recently read Irving Stone's engaging historical novel about Charles Darwin titled The Origin. In it, I read that Darwin's book The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals was a sensation in his lifetime. Countless people bought it and, I presumed, enjoyed reading it. I am very interested in the ways animals express emotions, so I got this book.

I found the reading dry and technical. Some explanations were fascinating, such as why we humans squeeze our eyes shut to sneeze or cry violently. Bu
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love the voice of Darwin and according to friends in the psychology field a lot of what he says still holds up. We learn about nerve force, which as animals sense things creates an impulse to act, and like skeletal systems and circulatory systems, we carry as human a huge legacy of these reactions from the animals we evolved from. Similar to On The Origin of Species, Darwin focuses on observations rather than speculation on the internal mechanisms at play, which I think had led to the long shelf ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a fascinating read! Before his time, Darwin was already discussing how similar humans are to the lower animals and only now are people taking his work seriously in this respect (at least, that is what it seems like). His methodology and examples gave a very clear image of how similar humans and animals are, and how similar we are across cultures as well. A great read.
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book. This is the kind of book that doesn't actually answer your question, but anyway it gives you alternatives and theories to ponder on. Also you can tell that Darwin was very passionate working on this one. ...more
Ian Lea
I didn't enjoy this nearly as much as The Origin of Species. Partly because for me just not as interesting but also because this is a scholarly edition or whatever the phrase is, with inserts of changes Darwin wanted made, notes on the notes and so on. A bit disappointing. ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Too close to psychology for my taste. To be honest: my reading direction was slightly "diagonal". ...more
Gonca Ercegil
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
a must read for everyone working on emotions
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A few interesting anecdotes and observations, but overall very dry.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very educational.
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020-reads
Ooof. I did enjoy reading phrases and words of the past, however it was quite verbose and could have been simplified much more in each chapter.
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Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist, eminent as a collector and geologist, who proposed and provided scientific evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors through the process he called natural selection. The fact that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community and the general public in his lifetime, while his theory of natural selec ...more

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