The Advantages Of Being Physically Attractive Philosophy Essay

Nowadays attractive people rule the world. We see them on television, on the

Topic Selected: The advantages and shortcomings of Daisyworld as an analogue for the real earth system. The aim of this paper is to try and establish whether Daisyworld is an appropriate model of the real earth system, to analyse the debate between academics and in turn to discern wheather any part of Daisyworld and indeed Gaia hold any merit.

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Background :

Daisyworld is a hypothetical model without the presence of greenhouse gases or an atmosphere. Originally consisted of two types of daises – white reflecting light and black absorbing light. Later models introduced additional factors into the environment such as foxes, rabbits and other species. The main purpose of the Daisyworld system was to illustrate the crediblity of the Gaia Hypothesis. This proposes all organisms and their surroundings are interconnected to each other, creating a single, regulated system maintaining conditions for life .

The original Daisyworld system was criticised for being both a rigid and narrow focused system. Since then Daisyworld has been reassessed, evolving into a more complex comprehensive system. Instead of the two fixed daisy species, many additional species were introduced including herbivores and carnivores through three tropic levels with common examples being rabbits and foxes. (Rabbits and foxes mentioned twice, possibly remove 2nd reference?)(Lovelock,2009)


Daisyworld demonstrates a simple analogue system, explaining the basic principle of Gaia and how every process has (causes instead of has) an action or reaction (couplings).

Although Daisyworld can be perceived as lacking evidentionary support, the daisies show symbiosis with their environment, (but) if one species diminishes (and is) unable to survive with environment changes another species can thrive taking its place or ‘niche’.

These components within the Daisyworld model can be seen in the earth system, however Daisyworld is often dismissed as a too simplified representation of natural selection.

In response to critcism, Lovelocks paper ‘A numerical model of biodiversity’ further expands this model by allowing the organism to mutate spontaneously. Lovelock states that both his paper and work conducted by Tim Lenton and Stephan Hardling back this theory and this more comprehensive system goes towards explaining the relationship between biodiversity and planet regulation. (Lovelock,1992)

Furthermore within “The vanishing face of Gaia” Lovelock outlines at least ten predictions that were proposed in Gaia theory in the 1990s (proposed within Gaia theory), that (remove that) of which eight of them have been confirmed or accepted.

(Lovelock,1992) (wrong ref, should be 2009)




Mars is lifeless (1968)

Atmospheric compositional evidence shows lack of disequilibrium

Strong confirmation, Viking mission 1975

That elements are transferred from ocean to land by biogenic gases (1971)

Search for oceanic sources of dimethyl sulphide and methyl iodide

Found 1973

Climate regulation through biologically enhanced rock weathering (1973)

Analysis of ice‐core data linking temperature and CO2 abundance

Confirmed 2008, by Zeebe and Caldeira

That Gaia is aged and is not far from the end of its lifespan (1982)

Calculation based on generally accepted solar evolution

Generally accepted

Climate regulation through cloud albedo control linked to algal gas emissions (1987)

Many tests have been made but the excess of pollution interferes

Probable for southern hemisphere

Oxygen has not varied by more than 5 per cent from 21 per cent for the past 200 million years (1974)

Ice‐core and sedimentary analysis

Confirmed for up to 1 million years ago

Boreal and tropical forest are part of global climate regulation

Models and direct observation

Generally accepted

Biodiversity a necessary part of climate regulation (1992)

By models but not yet in the natural ecosystems

Jury still out

The current interglacial is an example of systems failure in a physiological sense (1994)

By models only


The biological transfer of selenium from the ocean to the land as dimethyl selenide

Direct measurements

Confirmed 2000, Liss

“The vanishing face of Gaia.” Lovelock,2009

With eight out of ten predictions made being either confirmed or accepted, (this) means that these predictions must carry enough merit for them to be accepted by other professionals. This in turn helps support the Daisyworld model and Gaia. (maybe remove paragraph, adding at end before table that confirm of predicts support daisyworld)

It has further been stated within the Daisyworld model that as solar luminosity increases, daises would perish with the increasing temperature, however negative feedbacks dampen these perturbations. This can create issues identifying were (where) some characteristics of an organism had originated, (whether) it be through natural selection or something long term such as evolution. This owes support to the claim, that the world is an interlocking system, coping with a complex interlocking system of feedback loops.This in turn can cause difficulty in isolating the original cause and effect. (Lovelock,1992)

P.Saunders theorised that natural selection was not always the crucial factor in a species evolution.When enviomental change occurs, organisms have the chance (to) respond or not at all. If the system reacts as expected, its a regulated system however this regulation can cease. This can cause catastrophic collapse or a shift to a new state from which recovery is possible depending on the rate of shift.

Daisyworld surmises that there is another factor involved in the systems self regulation other than natural selection called ‘collective intellegence’. Even if this is the case, P.Saunders states that natural selection deals with immediate benefit rather than the long term and insuring stability. This however could be seen as were Gaia could have influence. (Saunders,1994)


One of the main criticisms of Gaia and the Daisyworld model is the claim of planetary regulation through ‘collective intelligence’. A further shortcoming of the Daisyworld model has been, that the standard model experiences no greenhouse gases, no atmosphere and no clouds and as such is not ‘representative’ of claims that the environment intelligently “guides/shapes” the planet, a real earth system.

(Kump et al, 2009) .

Furthermore the model uses luminosity in its calculations which is theorized to increase faster than the earth’s sun which could lead misinterpretations in data. Furthermore although equilibrium is achievable, in the case of the earth system, periods of equilibrium tend to be briefer and more erratic.

Another criticism is that a permanent change in luminosity would cause daises to increase across the planet, causing increased albedo and reflectance which could cause a runaway effect. Although this can be witnessed on earth, the Daisyworld system presumes something would be triggered to balance the system. (kump et al,2009)

The most significant criticism from various academics to Lovelocks theory is that it is ‘pure conjecture’ not supported by documented evidence.

Lovelock refutes this, citing both evidence he published in his book ‘the vanishing face of Gaia’ and by insisting random patterns aren’t coincidental. Instead he insists the planet possesses greater regulatory force through ‘collective intelligence’ which maintains constant symbiosis between plants, animals and the environment.

Furthermore, Dolittle identifies that when a chemical or physical parameter nearly reaches critical levels, the mechanism initiating parameters to allow it to return back to optimum levels are seldom identified. Furthermore there seems to be a lack of consistent results. (Dolittle,1981)

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A additional shortcoming presented by Richard Dawkins in his work ‘the selfish gene’ seems to contradict the Daisyworld para-dime.Dawkins states every organism is out for its interests to survive. Through this, there are many individuals that will try different traits to enhance their possible survival and in turn increase the possibility to further the species survival as a whole. The resulting theory is that individuals out for their own benefit try different traits through trail and error, with successful traits incorporated by the species as a whole and so therefore furthering the species existence. (Dawkins,1982)

Lovelock counters this by insisting that symbiosis occurs to benefit both individuals and the environment simultaneously with the environment influencing the individual.

Dawkins refutes this stating symbiosis is simply a by product of an individual fulfilling its own requirements.

Furthermore Dr. W.F.Doolittle insists behaviour isn’t genetically written, that instead accidentally balanced feedback loops occur which are fragile and happen by chance. This however conflicts with Lovelocks theory of ‘collective intelligence’ it instead concludes that life is reliant on several crucial parameters and not that these parameters are manipulable which is implied by Lovelock. (Doolittle,1981)

Agreement or debate :

Daisyworld has been challenged and debated by several academics from various fields of study.

Lovelock believed in hindsight naming his theory Gaia, after the greek godess had a bearing on peoples opinions causing people to reject his theory out of hand and become more resistant. (Lovelock,2000)

Furthermore Gaia was criticized for being a teleological system with life’s existence predetermined. Lovelock refutes this stating that he never stated that planetary self regulation was purposeful or contained foresight. (Lovelock,2009)

Stephen Jay Gould criticised the theory stating Gaia’s mechanisms involved in self – regulating homeostasis havn’t been identified. (Gould,1988)

David Abram however refutes this criticism stating that the mechanisms itself are in fact metaphorical and consequentially Stephen Jay Gould had misinterpreted what Lovelock was trying to demonstrate. (Abram,1988)

Lovelock reiterates that the connections between various identified mechanisms may never become transparent and this is why the system should be studied in its entirety. He explains his frustration that in other fields this would be accepted as matter of course. (Lovelock,2000)

Mathematician R.Feynman backed this rationale further stating that “a lack of explanation to the cause and effect of a theory may never be answered mathematically and it is indeed is inevitable in the progression of a theory, that even if answerable this may take time”. (Lovelock,2000)

Lovelock insists that Gaias biological feedback mechanisms use a process of systemic Darwinian evolution, with organisms that improve their environment survive and thrive better than those who damage theirs. (Lovelock,1979)

W.F.Dolittle criticised this stating that nothing in the individuals genome could produce this functionality of intentionally bettering the individuals environment through the feedback process suggested. He therefore refutes Gaia as a scientific theory as the mechanism is unexplained. (Dolittle,1981)

In Dawkins book “The Extended Phenotype” he further refutes this stating organism’s are not able to work to a common plan, as foresight and planning would be required. (Dawkins,1982)

Biologist L.Margulis and co-founder supports the Gaia hypothesis stating ” Darwin’s grand vision was not wrong, only incomplete”.  She reiterates Darwin, stating “the primary mechanism for selection is the direct competition between individuals for resources” of which she expresses that this can be restrictive and lead to a ridged approach towards the subject.

She continues by stating that the earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere’s composition are controlled around specific points but that these alter with time. This highlights feedback loops raised in Lovelocks theory further supporting his claims of a level of symbiosis or ‘collective intelligence’.

Furthermore she states that there is no tendency to preserve habitats and these communities can exist at various degrees of integration. Lovelock also states that although he feels there is a level of symbiosis these fixed points can become tipping points and so therefore no factor is indeed ridged and there is flexibility in the system. This can be seen when a tipping point has be (been) surpassed and the system shifts to a new state. (Margulis, 1999)

Conclusion / interpretation :

There are many criticisms of lovelocks work involving Daisyworld, one of the most vocal being Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is one of his main critics of his theory of ‘collective intelligence’ with the biosphere and evolution of the organisms contributing to form a stable planet.

Dawkins instead favours the gene as a unit of selection, in contrast with Lovelock. This approach, however has been criticised as misleading and should instead be described as a unit of evolution.

Further criticism is that genes, do not exist alone but instead co-operate with each other both within the individual and its environment. Dawkins, however defends his theory stating that genetic recombination and sexual reproduction from a individual genes view sees all other genes as part of its environment.

This view is criticised especially by professionals studying higher levels of selection including D.S.Wilson & Co who state that a gene based approach can not satisfactorily explain all life for example altruism.

Dawkins approach can be perceived as a restricted approach to understanding the earth system and by not analysing the system as whole results can become fractured and misinterpreted.

Furthermore, initially Dawkins did not have any evidence to clarify his theories, he tries to rectify this in his book (which book, ref?). Dawkins states an individual organism is looking out for itself and this is ultimately beneficial for the group.

This is because if you have many individuals evolving individually any advantageous behaviour or physical attributes can be passed on to the group as a whole. Furthermore this means that advantageous behaviour and attributes are passed onto the group quicker.

In conclusion,Lovelock believes that to obtain accurate results we must look at the earth system as a whole this was why he created the Daisyworld model in order to explain the concept of Gaia and to counter criticism towards the theory.

Lovelock stated that Daisyworld was never intended to be comparable to a real earth system, especially as the model didn’t have an atmosphere and was basic in its formation. He instead created Daisyworld as he perceived that other academics were misinterpreting Gaia and its function and so Daisyworld should simply be a means of explaining the processes on earth and how everything is interconnected.

Lovelock confirmed this by stating that Daisyworld was “a cybernetic proof of the Gaia hypothesis” (Kirchner,2003)

Lovelock argued that other theories for example climate change involve a level of uncertanty and as such is widely understood as a young feild of research where inaccreatces can occur with out the theory, being dismissed out of hand. Lovelock states his fustration to this, that Gaia and the Daisyworld model are not afforded the same grace.

It is seen in the original model that it was reductional, lacked variability and seemed to have limited comparability to the real earth system. However, this model has extended to include increased species diversity and variability and has included the additional parameters to allow organisms to spontaneously mutate. With these additions, this increases variability into the system which increases the systems credibility by producing more accurate results than the original system. This style of progression can be seen within climate change modeling, where better understanding and increased variability into the system, create a more accurate model moving forward. This however, takes time and as understanding increases so will the model evolve with it.

Support for Daisyworld model, highlights the inclusive whole system approach in contrast to some scientists which views can be perceived by some as reductionist, bottom up approach for example Richard Dawkins. It should be appreciated that Daisyworld and more importantly Gaia is trying to create an inclusive model.

Furthermore some academics have misinterpreted Daisyworld as the theory and have included some of Daisyworlds shortcomings when evaluating Gaia. Instead, Daisyworld should be seen as just a way of explaining Gaia.

Although there are some inaccuracies and shortcomings of Gaia, the theory has already demonstrated that it can evolve over time and as such inaccuracies should be addressed

The Gaia hypothesis has seen eight out of ten predictions confirmed or accepted, some have taken time to be proven for example the biological transfer of selenium from the ocean to the land, this was confirmed in 2000, 21 years after the Gaia hypothesis was formulated. This indicates that with some factors have been proven, others will take time to be confirmed.

Another advantage of the system is that natural selection is accepted by all academics with the field but it has been realised that natural selection may not answer all outcomings. Therefore it is suggested that Gaia would be evolved in the long term and insuring stability.

There are, however some factors that have the possibility of creating miscalculations for example the use of luminosity, which is suspected to be increasing faster than our sun which may lead to misinterpretations. One further, debated shortcoming is that equilibrium is achievable and that when a runaway effect is caused a balance is expected to come into force. In the real earth system equilibrium can be achievable but it is possible that it would be harder to detect in a real earth system for example for a brief period. There are still issues when a chemical or physical parameter is nearly reached, with the mechanism initialising parameters to return to normal seldom identified.

The Daisyworld Para-dime isn’t inherently wrong. The general principle of the Daisyworld Para-dime is a reasonable proposition. The belief that the world regulates itself on a global scale less so. Instead it is more reasonable to expect the small interactions between species, the environment and so on to balance the system. To illustrate, if the amount of Daisies increase the amount of rabbits one be expected (the opposite would be expected) to as well, cause and effect. Lovelocks general theory that when investigating the environmental effect on the planet, in order to get accurate results it should when ever possible be research in a multi disciplined co-operative approach in order to obtain both correct results and to obtain a fuller picture.

Lovelocks theory of planetary regulation is correct but it is seen from the the individual species level, for example if the amount of indivdual cows increase, the level of methane that these cows produce will increase the levels in the atmosphere which could increase the level of warming of the planet.

Daisyworld is a simplified representation model consisting of many connections, however how these components interact together is hard to calculate with an infinite amount of variables.It is possible to make a calculated assumption on how the earth will evolve but this is a ever developing topic with greater understanding increasing over time. For now I can only present my conclusion of whether Daisyworld is a flawed system and whether the method carrys any merit when explaining how earth develops over time.

Daisyworld (the planet) has the capacity to remain stable even with components that fluctuate and organism becoming extinct, thus meaning that the small componets can change even though the planet stays the same as a whole. However due to the nature Daisyworld it only has a limited capacity of modelling & prediction. Daisyworld is a basic model to attempt to explain some of the fundamental interactions in a earth focused system,it however lacks detail. We can, however see a more sophisticated & detailed version of the kind of processes that can be seen in the Daisyworld system in modem climate change models. These climate change models are calculated by sophisticated computers which it has been stated that even with this level of sophistication it would still require both a great deal of space and time in order to calculate all eventual probabilities (get the number)

In lovelock’s most recent book ‘The revenge of Gaia’ Lovelock states that ‘Gaia’ is finding it increasingly difficult to minimise impact experiencing bigger losses than before, to the rainforest’s, planetary diversity and this is testing its ability to minimize the effects off additional greenhouse gases and increases the probability of homeostatic positive feedback associated with global warming. This new stance from Lovelock seems that he is trying to express that the balance that we once had is now being lost. This means that in the real earth system the greenhouse effect in Daisyworld terms would give a positive radiative forcing effect. This i’snt modelled within Daisyworld, as Daisyworld has no atmosphere the planet would be considerably warmer with an atmosphere than without.

The earth system is a dynamic system that changes over time which holds widespread agreement amongst the scientific community, this in itself means that we will always discover new facts about the planet and this will always be evolving.

My assessment.

there is a feed back between the daisys and the enviroment that helps regulation. the main fault with daisyworld is that the enviroment concusly adjusts this is instead a reaction to whats happening at a lower level. i dont believe this is what lovelock is trying to say instead this has been misconstuded as such. we can see that fluctation has allways happened and that the planet, as a whole has been able to regulate itself. the earth however has been less able to do this in recent years, this also has been true in history when there have been tiping points where the earth has not been able to regulate itself or maintain a level state.

in my opinion, trying to be objective, i believe that the factors in which lovelock used may not exactly be correct or appropreate for example the use of luminosity and the planet having no atmosphere. however, i do firmly believe that lovelocks work has been dismissed by a section of individuals because of these shortcomings within the daisyworld model. Lovelock to his credit, has clearly stated on numerous occasions that daisyworld is not the the theory and as such should not be representative of a real earth system and was instead designed to simply explain the gaia theory. i do feel that lovelocks downfall was the fact that daisyworld was lacking in the detail and that this should have been looked at further before publicising.

My conclusion is that daisyworld should not be directly used to calculate the real earth system, as it was never designed to do this. However, daisyworld is a perfect illustation of the gaia hypothesis and works efficently to illustrate the principles of gaia. It should be used as a aid in order to learn the theory. Gaia, itself seems to be gaining increasing merit but along with climate change modelling, there is an understanding that modeling will evolve in time and i believe this is the same with gaia.


covers of magazines, they are everywhere. They dominate all the fields that include a certain degree of public exposure. “What is beautiful is good”. This is the stereotype that plays an active role in our lives.

Physical attractiveness influences our relationships with other people. It influences social acceptance and the employment process.

People consider that less attractive children are more likely to grow up with bad behavior, but if an attractive child grows up with such bad behavior, people perceive this event like an unusual one.

On job interviews, attractive people seem to be more efficient. They are good communicators they speak faster and fluently; they enjoy social interactions and exchanges. These people show more confidence and develop more favorable images of them.

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It is a fact that attractive people tend to be more successful than the less attractive ones. Attractive individuals are more sociable and happier. They tend to be more socially skillful because the favorable expectations of attractive people lead to better social exchanges, more favorable self-images, and better social skills.

2.2. Head Positions

Head shaking has its origins in bowing to appear superior. It can be a powerful persuasion tool; you can encourage someone to talk or to make him stop, only by nodding three to four times in certain intervals of time. The speed of nods determines the listener’s patience or the lack of it. If the listener is interested in what the speaker is saying he will give a slow deliberate nod. Fast nodding tells us that the listener wants to interfere or he is not interested anymore.

Head nodding can be contagious, if someone nods, you will return the nod, even if you don’t agree with what he is saying.

Head nodding is also an excellent tool to get someone’s cooperation and agreement; it is an unconscious outward reflection of our inner emotions so when you feel optimistic about something and you feel affirmative your head will start to nod as you speak. Positive emotions cause head nods and it goes the other way around, affirmative head nods can cause positive emotions. If you start to nod intentionally, you will experience those emotions.

In different cultures head nodding signifies “yes”, yes you agree other person’s point of view. This is not the case of Bulgaria where positive head nodding means “no”. In Japan, for example, head nodding doesn’t necessarily mean agreement; it can signify “yes, I hear you”. In other countries, like India, the head movement differs; here people move their head from side to side to signal agreement.

There are three basic head position.

Head up

In this position, the head remains still; the conversation can be slightly punctuated by small nods. Usually, this position takes a person who has neither positive nor negative attitude about what the interlocutor says.

If someone lifts the head with the chin jutting forward, he signals arrogance and fearlessness. Anyone who adopts this position is intentionally exposing the throat to gain some height so they can “look down their nose”.

The Head Tilt

The head tilt displays the vulnerable necks; it makes a person’s look smaller and less threatening. It is believed that this position has its origins in the baby resting its head on his parents shoulder or chest, its submissive meaning is understood by everyone, especially women.

Many women use this position in order to get attention from man they fancy because a submissive woman is attractive to most men. It is recommended using head tilt along with head nods during presentation or while delivering a speech because you will appear nonthreatening and the listeners will begin to trust you.

Head Down

People who have judgmental and negative attitude tend to keep their head down. It shows disapproval or disappointment. Sometimes, conference speakers confront situations when the listeners adopt this position, to make them lift their heads they involve them in action, they invite them to participate into a conversation before their actual presentation. If the method is successfully the next head position of the audience will be the tilt head.

2.3 Eye contact

The eyes are the windows of the soul. They are highly expressive region; their movement is allowing various expressions. We “keep our eyes open,” “turn a blind eye to certain events,” or we choose “not to bat an eye”. Our eyes show what we think about a person, how we feel toward him, if we are comfortable or not.

Eye contact is one of the most primitive ways of communication, during social interaction all good communicators look at each other in the eye, without the gaze even if it is for several seconds, they don’t feel like they are fully into the conversation. Georg Simmel described the phenomenon as “a wholly new and unique union between two people” and that it “represents the most perfect reciprocity in the entire field of human relationship” (Simmel).

The eye gaze may have a variety of meanings, such as friendship, submission, hate or attraction. The sources of variation are:

Point in the conversation: if a person is listening there is more eye contact than the situation where he is speaking. When people speak they tend to look up at the end of the speeches and phrases.

Nature of the topic. Topics of personal matter usually avoid the eye contact. Catholic confessionals and psychiatric couches for example are built in such manner, that the person who talks wouldn’t be inhibited by the eye contact. The contact between the priest or the therapist and the individual in both of these locations is reduced; the individual can feel, but not see the presence of the priest or the doctor so when he discuss shameful and embarrassing things those who are listening could not stare at them.

Relations between a pair of people. When two people like each other there is more eye contact than usual. The pupils are dilating when you look at a person whom you like more. Besides attraction, the gaze could mean threat, when one is cutting off or averting his gaze this signal could mean appeasement.

Cooperation. There is also more direct gaze when two people tend to cooperate rather than competing. In this case, an important role plays the quantity of eye contact; a high level of it usually means that the gazer is interested in the subject. However, combined with other expressions it also means threat.

Personality. Depending on one’s personality, he could look more or less. Extroverts look more often and for longer than their interlocutors and the introverts. There are also people that avoid the gaze; these are schizophrenic patients, depressed people and autistic children.

Distance. It is a certainty that eye contact is reduced when proximity is greater, in busses or elevators, for example it ceases at all. Reducing eye gaze helps us reduce the level of discomfort produced by invading our intimate zone.

2.3.1 The Functions of Eye Contact

The meanings of eye contact are various, and beside the hate, joy and domination signals that they could express there are several function that they have as well. These functions are:


Our social behavior is an open book for others to read, it tells the world who we really are. We are the one that give information so it is important to us to receive a properly feedback. The speech could be a way, but sometimes if you look closely to the other’s face you can find a lot more than he says, especially if you look at his eyes. At the end of the speech he looks at you to see how the information was received.

Signaling that the channel is open.

When you communicate and maintain the eye contact the speaker will understand that all your attention is his, and he may proceed further with the conversation. On the other hand, a simple flicker of the eye toward a third person indicates that the channel is closed.

Concealment and Exhibitionism.

Some people look to get attention and to keep it. These people according to Laing suffer from lack of such feelings like self-regard and ego-identity, they need to be seen so they could be “loved and confirmed as a person” (Laing). The eye contact is the only they need.

Establishment and Recognition of Social Relationship.

Argyle explained this function through the example of an A and B person. The eye contact plays a central role in the establishment of their relationship. If there is eye contact between A and B it means that there is attraction. If A wants to dominate B: A will stare at B with the appropriate expression, if B accepts A’s dominance he will adopt a submissive expression and he will look away;

If some people want to see and to be seen some of them don’t want to have eye contact at all. They hide communication signals and disguise the gaze by wearing sunglasses. Glasses are also used by blind people they wear tinted glasses to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to look a person in the eye whenever it is necessary. Mirrored glasses stay between traffic policeman and the drivers, by avoiding the eye contact policemen can reduce the possibility of an argument; the nervous drivers can be put off a confrontation if they are not seeing the officer’s eye but, forced to see their own.

2.4 Facial Expressions

The interest in human expression of emotion dates from more than a century ago when Charles Darwin published his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Darwin believed that human’s emotional expressions are defined by our evolution; therefore he couldn’t understand the human emotions without understanding the emotional expressions of animals. Darwin returned to fundamentals, he built his theory of emotional expressions in animals, in infants and children, and in adults from different countries.

Although everybody read his book, it hadn’t much impact on the scientific community over years. Only recently the scientists agreed that Darwin’s ideas, his theoretical interpretations and forecasts are the premise of current knowledge in the field of human’s facial expressions.

Scientists relate facial expressions with emotions they represent. Many anthropologists like Margaret Mead believed that the cultures of the world control these emotions. Paul Ekman on the contrary proved that facial expressions have natural origins therefore, they are universal.


Something unexpected triggers this emotion; it is the shortest one and it takes two or three seconds. It could last if the surprises continue. It is not a surprise when you have time to think if you are surprised or not, because this emotion feels like an explosion.

A surprised individual will raise the eyebrows so that the skin below will be more visible than usual. He will have wrinkles on his forehead; wrinkles that everyone shows except young children. The individual will also have the mouth opened; his lips will be smooth and relaxed. His mouth may be partly open or widely open it depends on how intense was the surprise.

The raised eyebrows, the relaxed open mouth can occur in combination with other expressions like neutral face, but it will no longer signify surprise, but doubt, fascination, or an astonishing moment.


Anger is the most dangerous emotion of all. When you are angry you can say things or worse do things that later you will regret. When you are angry you are not yourself, your blood pressure increases, the veins on your neck and forehead become more visible, your muscles tense and you may move slightly toward the offender. This emotion may be developed step by step, from a simple irritation, to rage or fury, it can be accumulated or it may occur suddenly.

Anger’s appearance can be determined when there are significant changes on the face. The angry person has his inner corners of the eyebrows lowered and drawn together. His eyelids are tense and his eyes look like he stares.

The mouth has two basic types:

The lip-pressed-against-lip mouth: it occurs when someone is starting some form of violence or when a person is trying to control his verbal anger; he presses the lips to prevent saying something unpleasant.

The open-mouthed anger happens when someone is expressing anger or when this person yells during a speech.

2.4.3 Fear

Fear is the innate emotion induced by a certain threat or sense of danger. We learn how to avoid the possibility of harm by analyzing what occurs around us. However we can’t anticipate everything and even it can be prevented we still fear any events or ideas that seems dangerous.

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Fear is a sudden emotion just like surprise, you can’t pause a moment to think if you are afraid or not, it occurs immediately something harms you and you are afraid. Unlike surprise fear is a terrible experience even a mild fear is unpleasant ant it is the most traumatic of all emotions. Another difference between fear and surprise consist of its duration. Fear if it is unexpected it can have short duration but it can also occur gradually, you can know very well the fear-inspiring event and still be afraid of it.

During fear there are distinctive appearances in the three areas of the face. The eyebrows appear raised and straightened with the inner corners drawn together, there are also wrinkles but not on the entire forehead. When the brows are held in the fear position the meaning of the expression is either worry or controlled fear.

Fear eyebrows are joined by fear eyes and fear mouth. Eyes during fear are tense, the upper eyelid is raised the lower eyelid is also tense. In both fear and surprise the upper eyelid is raised but these emotions differ in regard to the lower eyelid which in surprise is relaxed and in fear is tense and raised. In fear the mouth also may be opened the difference between surprise and fear are the lips in surprise they are relax, but in fear they are tense and also may be drawn back.

2.4.4 Disgust and Contempt

Disgust is an emotion of aversion. There are many things that may cause this aversion, the taste of something that you don’t like, the smell of it sometimes even the thought could cause disgust. Not only the tastes or the smell can bring someone disgust but also the actions and the appearance of another person. Some people feel disgust when looking a deformed or an ugly person. You may be disgusted by what a person does for example if that someone is torturing an animal.

Even if the emotion of disgust is universal, the things that one person thinks disgusting are not universally. What in one culture is disgusting in another culture may seem attractive and the other way around. These kinds of things are not the exactly in the same culture or in the same family. A disgusted person has lowered eyebrows and raised cheeks. However, the important clues that show disgust happen in the nose and mouth area. The upper lip may be raised, and the nose has wrinkles.

Disgust may range from a slight form of disgust to an extreme one. The difference between these forms is that in the slight type, the wrinkles on the nose and raised lip are less pronounced.

A close form of disgust is the contempt facial expression. This emotion is triggered by other people’s actions not smells, food or touches. Contempt’s appearance consists of a closed mouth with corners a little bit raised, and lips pressing each other.

2.4.5 Happiness

Happiness is a positive emotion that everyone wants to experience. We like when we are happy, it feels so good that we search it, and we try to build our lives around this emotion.

Most of the people think that the signal of happiness is the smile. It is not quite true. Sometimes, behind a smile there is pain hiding or even fear. Smiling in these cases, you make the unpleasant situations more comfortable for you.

Happiness’ intensity is determined by the position of the lip; this position is always accompanied by deepening the region between the lips and the nose also by more pronounced lines under the lower eyelid.

The intensity of happiness varies from a simple smile to an abroad one from ear to ear. The extreme form of happiness is laughter with tears.

2.4.6 Sadness

Sadness means suffering. People when are sad have a distinct way of showing it, they don’t cry they don’t yell they just suffer in silence.

Anything can make a person sad but in the most of cases what triggers this feeling is the loss of somebody.

Sadness’ appearance has distinctive clues in each area of the face. A sad person will lower his face; the inner corners his eyebrows are will be raised. “The inner corner of the upper eyelid is drawn up, and the lower eyelid may appear raised. The corners of the lips are drawn down, or the lips appear to tremble”. (Ekman and Friesen p121)

All the emotions mentioned above can blend with each other creating more ways to express our feelings, to underline or punctuate something in a conversation. It is known that people learn to control their facial expressions and sometimes you can be misled.


Hands arms and even legs can produce a variety of signals. These signals are used either to help you improve your interaction skills or to negotiate. As we grow up our signals become more subtle and less obvious and that is making them harder to read.

There is a debate among the researchers wherever some gestures are genetic or they are learned. The conclusion they got is that gestures are learned and they are culturally determined.

The open palm

Hands have been an important tool in human evolution and it is believed that there are more connection between the brain and the hand than between the brain and any over part of the body.

If you try to see if a person is honest or not, an important thing is to look at palm displays. The open palm was associated with truth and honesty throughout history. In ancient times open palms used to show that there are no weapons concealed and therefore there is no threat. Nowadays different kinds of oaths are taken in this way by placing the palm over the heart, in courts when somebody testifies the right palm is held up for the member of the court to see while in the left hand is the Bible.

There are three main palm gestures: the submissive palm position, the palm is facing up and it is used as a non-threatening gesture if you ask something from a person he will not feel the pressure of the request like in a superior situation. You will gain authority if you turn the palm to face downwards, the person whom you addressed the request will feel it like an order. The third gesture and the most irritating is that in which the palm is closed into a fist except the pointed finger, with whom the speaker creates a negative effect on other people he beats them into submission.

Rubbing the palms together

This gesture is the way in which people communicate their positive expectations. Before the dice are threw the thrower rubs them between palms, it signals his positive expectation of wining. Also a positive expectation signals a waiter at the end of the evening when he is asking “anything else, sir” while rubbing his palms, this usually is the non-verbal sign of a tip. However when a person rubs his palms while he is expecting the bus in freezing winter it means that his hand are cold not that he is expecting the bus. It is all about the context in which these gestures are made.

Hands clenched together.

This gesture seems to be a confidence one because people are smiling and sound happy when using it. The research showed however that behind that smile the person is holding back a negative attitude and therefore it is a gesture of frustration. The person may hold his hands clenched in three main positions: hand clenched in front of the face, resting on the desk or on the lap when seated.

Steepling hands

All gestures come in groups that are called clusters. This gesture represents an exception. It can be used in isolation from other gestures by people who use minimal or restricted body language. When it used it signals confident attitude. The gesture has two versions: the raised steeple used when the steepler is doing the talking and the lowered steeple when he is listening.

The Mouth Guard

This is a gesture learned from childhood and it is as obvious as it was then. The hand covers the entire mouth and the thumb is presses the cheek. What is happening is that the brain automatically tries to block deceitful words. As we grow up we try to disguise it by giving a fake cough or to minimize this gesture, instead of hand slapping over the mouth the finger rub around it.

Folded Arms

Folded arm gesture stands for a barrier against threatening situations. “When a person has a nervous, negative or defensive attitude, he will fold his arms firmly on his chest, a strong signal that he feels threatened”. (Pease) The researchers have found that the person who folds his arms has not only a negative attitude toward the speaker but he also is paying less attention to what is being sad. Many people said that they fold their arms because it is cozy. “Any gesture will feel comfortable when you have the corresponding attitude; that is if you have a negative, defensive or nervous attitude, the folded arms position will feel good”. (Pease)

Standard arm-cross gesture

This is a gesture that signifies the same universally negative attitude that people have in public events, meetings where they are surrounded by strangers; they have their both arms folded across the chest, it feels like an attempt to block an unfavorable situation. Beside the negative attitude this gesture also means that the person who folds his arms may disagree with what the speaker says. To bring this person into a more open position you have to make him unfold his arms and reach forward. Sometimes this gesture comes in cluster with clenched fists, clenched teeth, it indicates a hostile attitude and it makes possible a verbal or even a physical attack.

To make the arm barrier less obvious people disguise their arm-cross gestures. These people don’t want for other to know their insecurity or nervousness so their instead of folding their arms or grasping the other arm they just touch some of their personal objects like; handbags, bracelets watches everything near the arm.

The standard leg-cross position

Arms are not the only body part that can be used to form a barrier between you and the world. In most of European countries in Australian and New Zeeland cultures the right leg is neatly crossed over the left one. It is a gesture that shouldn’t be read out of context because people use it when they sit for a long time in uncomfortable chairs or when it is freezing outside.

Leg-cross positions may indicate that a defensive attitude exists but not so negative and obvious like arm-crossed gesture. Used together these gestures indicate that the person is not paying attention that he is withdrawn from the conversation.

The same meaning of negative attitude has the ankle lock gesture. This gesture is different in male and female version. In male version it appears together with clenched fists placed on the knees or with hands grasping the chair’s arms. In women’s case the knees are held together, the hands are resting side by side or one on the top of the other on the upper legs.

When individuals start to feel comfortable in a certain group they start to open up through a set o movements. This set has five stages:

Stage: the arms and legs are crossed in the defensive position.

Stage: the feet are placed in a neutral position.

Stage: the arm that is folded on top comes out and the palm is flashed during the conversation.

Stage: arms unfold and they can be placed either in pockets or on the hips.

Stage: the person is leaning forward to the speaker whom he finds interesting and not a stranger anymore.

It is important to know that all kind of gestures or facial examples should be considered in the context that they occur, because it is really easy to misread a signal. If for example a man has a soft handshake you most likely will be tented to accuse him of having a weak character, not taking into consideration that he may be a surgeon or a musician and he has to be delicate with his hands in order to protect them.


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