A. May has also given me two similar sketches of dogs. Mr. Cooper has taken much care in cutting the blocks. Some of the photographs and drawings, namely, those by Mr. May, and those by Mr. Wolf of the Cynopithecus, were first reproduced by Mr. Cooper on wood by means of photography, and then engraved: by this means almost complete fidelity is ensured.



The three chief principles stated--The first principle--Serviceable actions become habitual in association with certain states of the mind, and are performed whether or not of service in each particular case-- The force of habit--Inheritance--Associated habitual movements in man-- Reflex actions--Passage of habits into reflex actions--Associated habitual movements in the lower animals--Concluding remarks.

I WILL begin by giving the three Principles, which appear to me to account for most of the expressions and gestures involuntarily used by man and the lower animals, under the influence of various emotions and sensations.[1] I arrived, however, at these three Principles only at the close of my observations. They will be discussed in the present and two following chapters in a general manner. Facts observed both with man and the lower animals will here be made use of; but the latter facts are preferable, as less likely to deceive us. In the fourth and fifth chapters, I will describe the special expressions of some of the lower animals; and in the succeeding chapters those of man. Everyone will thus be able to judge for himself, how far my three principles throw light on the theory of the subject. It appears to me that so many expressions are thus explained in a fairly satisfactory manner, that probably all will hereafter be found to come under the same or closely analogous heads. I need hardly premise that movements or changes in any part of the body,-- as the wagging of a dog's tail, the drawing back of a horse's ears, the shrugging of a man's shoulders, or the dilatation of the capillary vessels of the skin,--may all equally well serve for expression. The three Principles are as follows.

[1] Mr. Herbert Spencer (`Essays,' Second Series, 1863, p. 138) has drawn a clear distinction between emotions and sensations, the latter being "generated in our corporeal framework." He classes as Feelings both emotions and-sensations.

I. _The principle of serviceable associated Habits_.--Certain complex actions are of direct or indirect service under certain states of the mind, in order to relieve or gratify certain sensations, desires, &c.; and whenever the same state of mind is induced, however feebly, there is a tendency through the force of habit and association for the same movements to be performed, though they may not then be of the least use. Some actions ordinarily associated through habit with certain states of the mind may be partially repressed through the will, and in such cases the muscles which are least under the separate control of the will are the most liable still to act, causing movements which we recognize as expressive. In certain other cases the checking of one habitual movement requires other slight movements; and these are likewise expressive.

II. _The principle of Antithesis_.--Certain states of the mind lead to certain habitual actions, which are of service, as under our first principle. Now when a directly opposite state of mind is induced, there is a strong and involuntary tendency to the performance of movements of a directly opposite nature, though these are of no use; and such movements are in some cases highly expressive.

III. _The principle of actions due to the constitution of the Nervous System, independently from the first of the Will, and independently to a certain extent of Habit_.--- When the sensorium is strongly excited, nerve-force is generated in excess, and is transmitted in certain definite directions, depending on the connection of the nerve-cells, and partly on habit: or the supply of nerve-force may, as it appears, be interrupted. Effects are thus produced which we recognize as expressive. This third principle may, for the sake of brevity, be called that of the direct action of the nervous system.

The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals Page 14

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Charles Darwin

All Pages of This Book