Sunday, July 16, 2006
What an angry face this little baby has, wouldn't you agree?
An article from the June 2006 journal of Current Biology supports research on how angry facial expressions are a priority when visually processing aspects in our world.
We are instinctually wired to be attuned to threatening faces in our environment. In fact, there are specific brain regions that are dedicated to processing threatening facial expressions.
In evolutionary terms, knowing what was dangerous helped our ancestors to survive. Psychologically speaking, sensing the threat set into motion a variety of defenses that enabled our ancestors to move through the emotional experience of danger.
We still rely on this wiring today. When we see the angry boss coming or view a threatening situation, our defensive strategies are activated. If danger can be seen, we can respond.
But, sadly, there are many times that we don't see the danger coming. Our visual scanning doesn't pick up the angry face because it is masked. We don't see the dangerous person that lingers underneath the non-threatening face. We are simply not wired for that.
The best we can do when we are confronted with a wolf in sheep's clothing is to get out of harm's way as fast as possible - with no self-blame or self-reproach.
Now, back to this angry face...I wonder what made this little baby so mad?
Williams, M. & Mattingley, J.B. (2006) Do angry men get noticed? Current Biology, 16, R402-R404.