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Unformatted text preview: Ethology 77, 279—299 (1988) © 1988 Paul Parey Scientific Publishers, Berlin and Hamburg ISSN 0179-1613 Forscbungsstelle fiir Humanetbologie in der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Seewiesen Patterns on the Face: The Eyebrow Flash in Crosscultural Comparison KARL GRAMMER, WULF SCHIEFENHOVEL, MARGRET SCHLEIDT, BEATRICE LORENZ 8t IRENAUS EIBL-EIBESFELDT With 5 figures Received: january 12, 1987 Accepted: july 1, 1987 (W. Wickler) Abstract 255 instances of “brow raise” filmed in three cultures in unstaged social interactions were analyzed on different levels using the “Facial Action Coding System” (FACS, EKMAN 8t FRIESEN 1978). Contraction and slackening of the M. frontalis, pars medialis et lateralis are involved, and show temporal constancy in all three cultures, creating a pattern with a typical movement configuration. This configuration is discussed as a universal prerequisite for stimulus generation perception. The total time of contraction varies with contextual features, and brow raise in openings is longer than during interactions. An analysis of co-occurrence of other facial movements showed universal patterns occurring in all three cultures. Brow raise is most often accompanied by a smile. The antithesis of this “eyebrow flash”, both in neuromuscular and semantic aspect, is brought about by the action of the M. corrugator supercilii, lowering the brows and pulling them together. In addition, a set of functional patterns could be identified in all three cultures, ranging from a factual “yes” to a “yes to social contact”. Thus, the eyebrow flash can be interpreted as a “social marking—tool” which emphasizes the meaning of other facial cues, head movements and even verbal statements. Introduction In everyday life we are confronted with a large array of sensory material; furthermore the world of “stimuli“ is an ambiguous one, since: — the same stimulus can have multiple meanings for different persons, — the same stimulus can have different meanings for the same person at different times, — different stimuli may have the same meaning at different points in time. If everything impinging on our sensorium has multiple meanings, why do we generally note only a single meaning and proceed with infrequent awareness of alternative meanings? This surely applies to all kinds of stimuli, including facial stimuli. We then have to consider two basic questions generated by the above mentioned problems: U.S. Copyright Clearance Center Code Statement: 0179-1613/88/7704-0279$02.50/0 280 K. GRAMMER, W. SCHIEFENHOVEL, M. SCHLEIDT, B. LORENZ 8t 1. EIBL-EIBESFELDT — how do people identify one stimulus out of a continuously flowing social behavioural stream? — and how do they attribute “meaning” to an identified stimulus? Many persons have suggested that the interactional context, i.e. the condi— tions under which a stimulus occurs solves the ambiguity problem. This means that stimuli, for their perceiver, gain meaning through a definition of the circumstances by the perceiver himself. The problem with this approach is that it leads to an infinite regression (PALERMO 1983): since the context itself is an ambiguous stimulus it must be disambiguated by its lower level context, and so on. Thus it seems more likely, that the possible multiple meanings of stimuli are disambiguated, and thus reduced to one single meaning, not by the objective interactional context but by the person subjectively perceiving the stimulus. This second possibility implies the existence of a “naturally implicit system of rules” for classifying and responding to stimuli, or of “predetermined functions”. In order to solve the disambiguation problem this “system of rules” should cover two aspects of stimulus perception. First, conceptual structures determin— ing “how a behaviour becomes a stimulus” are necessary; and second, such a system has to have a starting point for the systematic integration of experience, i.e. there should be a “basic meaning” for defined stimuli. If we accept the hypothesis that the perceiver judges a stimulus or an event by an “implicit system”, we would have to look at the consequences these perspective restraints produce for the stimulus producer: the perceiver’s percep— tive apparatus controls the production of a stimulus. This leads, for the sender, to a set of constraints: — There have to be marked changes in the behavioural flow. This can be achieved by a fast onset of the respective stimulus (whose speed, however, must lie between upper and lower detection thresholds), whereas time variation in offset remains possible. The discrimination of a stimulus could be contrasted against movements in the opposite direction, and/or by suppression of other movements during the time the stimulus is “on” the face. A third possibility is the rhythmical repetition of the same movement. — The temporal organization of the stimulus producing movement should be such that a “typical movement configuration” is created (CRANACH et al. 1980). The fast beginning (onset) of the muscle contraction could be contrasted by a period of standstill at the point of maximum contraction (apex) followed by slow disappearance of the movement (offset). — If different movements jointly create a pattern, these movements should show constancy of common occurrence. This means the constant presence and absence of defined movements (“Konstanz der relativen Lagebeziehung”). The movements should have a common onset (within the borders of a detection threshold) and they should have ,,sufficient” overlap, so that they are perceived as one event. If such an event is created sequen- tially we should find constancy of sequential organization. Coming back to meaning: the proper way for the assessment of meaning would consist in a presentation of identified events to observers in different contexts and cultures, accompanied by a systematic variation of the above Brow Movements 281 mentioned parameters. Such an approach demands, as a first step, the isolation of patterns. This is the task our paper is dedicated to. There are two problems we have to be aware of, if we try to apply such an approach to facial stimuli. The first may be discussed in terms of intentionality vs. non-intentionality, the second in terms of dynamic events vs. states. It may, for instance, not be the intention of the sender of the signal to produce a stimulus for a given interaction partner, or the stimulus may stay on the face after the situation has already changed. In this paper we mainly investigated the facial movement known as “eye- brow flash”, which as will be shown, constitutes a facial event. Vertical brow movements, which were already mentioned by DARWIN (1872) but had failed to gain attention, were once more discovered by I. EIBL-EIBESFELDT and H. HASS while inspecting films taken during several field studies. EIBL-EIBESFELDT (1967, 1968) described this movement as “eye—greeting”. It consists of a very quick raising of the brows. In thosegases observed in the film at that time the brows were maximally raised for 1/6 of ls (e 167 ms). Further inspection of this expression movement showed that in most cases the head is raised shortly before the beginning, and a smile accompanies the whole sequence. When the brows are lowered again many of the subjects nod with their head. The name “eye-greeting” concerns the function and the social context: the behaviour was observed at that time during situations of greeting, especially in greeting over a distance. Later observations showed that there exists a further spectrum of possible meanings of this “fast brow raise”, which could be described as “yes to social contact” (EIBL—EIBESFELDT 1972). We can interpret this wide- spread behaviour as corroboration of mutual agreement, as greeting, as expres- sion of sympathy in flirting situations, as a non-verbal sign of thanking, and as an expression which accompanies friendly joking. Furthermore the “fast brow raise” can be observed in conversations when someone underlines a statement in the sense of “yes, that is true”. Very often in this situation nodding occurs. In some cultures (e.g. Samoa) this sort of “yes” was generalized to all situations of affirmation. Through comparative studies (EIBL-EIBESFELDT 1972) it was assumed that this sort of brow raise stems from the opening of the eyes in situations of surprise. In this connection two strains of development with contrary meanings showed up. Besides the friendly and affirmative brow-raising there exists one which expresses indignation: angry surprise, anger, displeasure, rejection and arrogant turning away during social contact are expressed through a particular form of brow raise. In these cases the brows stay raised over a longer period; additional expression movements like turning away, cut—off and nose wrinkling specify this expression of brow-raising as increasing social distance. Out of this brow movement an accompanying movement was developed in Greece to express “no”. EIBL-EIBESFELDT (1972) states that the common root of these two developmental strains of brow raise is the opening of the eye, i.e. the widening of the visual field accompanying attention and curiosity. Ethology, Vol. 77 (4) 20 282 K. GRAMMER, W. SCHIEFENHOVEL, M. SCHLEIDT, B. LORENZ 8t 1. EIBL-EIBESFELDT In order to avoid a possible fallacy created by the existence of two seemingly different patterns of brow raise, by the difficulties keeping apart events vs. states, intentional vs. non—intentional brow movements and by the possible different meanings, we sampled all instances of inner and outer brow raise contained in ad libitum sampled film sequences of unstaged social interactions in three different cultures. The questions we looked at, as posed by the above mentioned approach, were: — What is the temporal and structural organisation of brow raise and how is it connected to other facial movements? — Which parameters define the context in which brow raise occurs, both intraculturally and interculturally and is it possible to assess its “basic meaning”? Methods, Materials and Definitions We applied the Facial Action Coding System (FACS, EKMAN 8L FRIESEN 1978). Episodes of brow raise were thus defined as a contraction of AU (action unit) 1 (M. frontalis, pars medialis) and AU 2 (M. frontalis, pars lateralis): which was given the new number “AU 99". In the ideal case we coded a “window” i 1 s before and after the brow raise. The selection of episodes was determined by the visibility of the face and by the number of times (max. 4) an individual already contributed to the data. Thus we can, although with caution, treat the data as independent. The material we used were unedited films, taken using an ad libitum sample technique with the help of a 90° angle lens (developed by EIBL—EIBESFELDT 8L HASS 1966), allowing the documentation of “normal behaviour” of the subjects, who are usually not aware of being filmed. The episodes were extracted from 61.8 km of film (A 67 h) of unstaged social interactions in three cultures: Eipo (Irian-Jaya, West New Guinea) films by EIBL-EIBESFELDT from 1975 and 1979. Trobriand (Papua New Guinea) films by EIBL-EIBESFELDT from the years 1979 to 1983, and by SCHIEFENHOVEL in 1983. Yanomami (Upper Orinoko, Venezuela) films by ElBL-EIBESFELDT from the years between 1979 to 1983. Coding was carried out frame-by-frame as a “full-record coding”, i.e. all visible facial and head movements were coded according to their onset, apex and offset. The temporal aspects of the data are presented in terms of “frames”. The normal film speed is 25/5, one frame therefore corresponds to 0.04 s. For the evaluations of the context we used the respective fieldnotes and cues clearly identifiable in the film sequences. Context was first described by age and sex of the receiver of the facial signal. And in a second independent analysis the situations were classified as: — Opening situations (introduction of interaction): the sender or receiver moved head and/or body into the direction of the interaction partner and eye-contact is established before brow-raising. In addition, the distance between the interactants was specified (up to armreaching distance of both subjects: “near”; otherwise: “far”); — Interactions during conversations among adults and interactions with toddlers. Coding of all items was done independently by two observers, and final coding was only permitted if mutual agreement could be established with a third observer. Results General Aspects In the Eipo (EIP) material we found n = 80, in Trobriand (TRO) n = 84, and in Yanomami (YAN) n = 91, episodes of brow raise (Fig. 1). At first we tested the possible existence of differences between the contextual structure of the Brow Movements 283 datasets to exclude the possibility that differences in the analysis could be caused by such differences in the datasets themselves. The datasets differ significantly with regard to age and sex of sender and receiver. In EIP the senders are significantly more often men, whereas in TRO we find more men as receivers (xz—test: Sex and age by culture, controling for sender: x2 = 16.9, p = 0.01, df = 4; controling for receiver: x2 = 30.71, p = 0.001, df = 4). Despite these differences almost all possible age sex combinations occur in our sample (we even find toddlers as senders), except situations where woman are senders and men are receivers or toddlers as senders address men as receivers (Table 1). There are also differences with regard to interactive context. Brow raise in openings is common in all three cultures. In EIP we find AU 99 more often within conversations, and in YAN in interactions with toddlers and in TRO again in conversations (n = 255, xz-test, context by culture: x2 = 54.3, p = 0.001, df = 6). We have to be careful not. to interpret these differences as necessarily being cultural differences: they might be due to different sampling strategies in different years of filming, different researchers, subjects and settings in the three cultures and different socio—cultural values on the one hand, on the other they surely are partly due to the fact that FACS analysis needs high resolution in the material, and thus certain types of interactions are overrepresented. Table I: Age/sex types of eyebrow flash episodes in three cultures AIIF AIIM UW AI = toddlers and small children AIIF = female child, girl, young woman, old woman AIIM = male child, boy, young man, old man UW = unspecifiable, but social context obvious from field notes UO = unspecifiable, no social context 0 = objects R = receiver 8 = sender 20* 284 K. GRAMMER, W. SCHIEFENHOVEL, M. SCHLEIDT, B. LORENZ 8: I. EIBL-EIBESFELDT I‘Acs: IxntLIN! (osuu n no! it” 52! non mum: I file ENDE I 0575 0512 d§2O 053M 9%un “55" 055W “57” 055W 'nsu'55 h'.‘6¢‘ ‘¢;;.'¢.hg¢"ga. .LtLL-LLL&.5‘LL.LJLb-LLAL-LLL .‘LLL-LLb..&§LI l <<¢¢<¢<<<<1 1”: 1 o 2 ‘2 (<¢¢<l ¢C<<Illllllll Illllllllllltll>>>>>>>>>>>py 12 25 Illltlllllllllilllllll 25 HI ID dlllllllla <1 III! a: u “1 SD llllll lllllllllllll so 51 °----- ----------Itl IIYllIlllllllllllllllllltert >>> S on 111! III I 1111111111111![llllllltllll 60 60 61 1111 II! a! 1 2 3 4 Brow Movements 285 Temporal Structure of Brow Raise In order to determine the temporal organisation of brow raise we calculated the medians (because of considerable skew of the distributions) for total duration, onset, apex and offset times in all three cultures. Total duration varies between 6 and 258 frames. Although the medians are different between cultures with 11 frames for TRO and 14 for EIP and YAN, total duration does not differ significantly between the cultures (EMT—extended median test: x2 = 2.35, df = 2, n. s.) The distributions suggest the existence of at least two different types of brow raise in all cultures: a shorter one and a more variable longer one, which could be interpreted as events and states respectively (Fig. 2). The duration of the onset of AU 99 seems to be identical for all three cultures: 2.5 frames with a relatively low variation, although there is a small number of cases with slow onset, i. e. more than 5 frames (EMT: x2 = 2.35, df = 2, n. s., Fig. 2). For apex duration we find the first intercultural difference: in TRO the median (5 frames) is significantly shorter than in EIP (6 frames) and YAN (7 frames) (EMT: x2 = 8.37, p = 0.01, df = 2, Fig. 2). The offset of AU 99 (median of 3 frames) again does not differ between the cultures (EMT: x2 = 1.47, df = 4, n. s.) but is significantly longer than the onset in TRO and YAN (TRO sign-test, p = 0.0032, two-tailed; YAN sign-test: p = 0.0016, two-tailed). Although there is the same trend in EIP (sign-test: p = 0.1, two-tailed) the difference is not significant (Fig. 2). A first conclusion concerning the temporal organization could thus be: most events of brow raise are marked by a fast onset, long but variable apex, and a slow offset. Our results suggest that the variation in total duration could be due to the variation of apex in and between cultures. A second conclusion is that there are events of “short brow raise” up to approximately 20 frames which, by far, constitute most of our cases, and a second class of states where the brow raise is typically longer than 30 frames (“extended brow raise”). Temporal Organization and Context As a next step we tested for age, sex and interactive context differences in total duration. The analysis showed that age—sex differences are due to asymme- Fig. 1: FACS—timeline of an episode of 55 frames where brow raise occurs. Two Eipo boys are interacting in Kosarek (Irian Jaya). 1) No. 4518, boy at left: slow onset of AU 12 (Zygomaticus major); at the same time he shows Lid Droop AU 41 (Levator palpebrae superioris) and is talking (AU 50 Speech). 2) No. 4525, AT 12 reaches its maximum contraction (apex), the boy still talks and moves his head to the left (AU 51). Additionally he moves his eyes to the left (AU 51) and now looks into the face of his interaction partner (AU 60). 3) No. 4539, maximum contraction of AU 99 (AU 1 and AU 2, action of Frontalis, pars medialis and pars lateralis) and of AU 12. The mouth now is slightly opened (AU 25) (Depressor labii or Mentalis or Orbicularis oris). The upward movement of the head has reached its culmination point and the face still is in direction of the partner. 4) No. 4569, Lid Droop (AU 41) on its apex and stop of the Head Turn Left (AU 51). This example gives an impression of the organization of the patterns created by brow raise and of the material which was used for coding 286 K. GRAMMER, W. SCHIEFENHOVEL, M. SCHLEIDT, B. LORENZ 8L 1. EIBL-EIBESFELDT tries in datastructure, i.e. over-representation and under-representation of intro- ductory brow raise and brow raise during conversation, respectively. Context differences are significant for all three cultures: brow raise in openings has a longer total duration than those occurring during interactions (median-test, interaction type by duration, controling for culture: EIP: n = 80, X2 = 4.6, p = 0.05; TRO: n = 84, X2 = 20.4, p = 0.001; YAN: n = 91, x2 = 15.6, p = 0.001; df in all cases: 1, see Table 2). VAIDIMI '0 rout uuunou 99 "=91 IEDIAIXI‘ WHO" (fr-es) EIPO '° Mum Duration 99 n=ao IEDIAI=II 5" mnou (fr-cs) 15 YIODIIAID YOTALOUIATIOI 99 n=IO IEDIAI=II IO WMHMI (has) VAIOIAII OISE 1 99 n =90 HEDlAI=2 Fig. 2: Distributions of total duration of brow raises, onset (time for the move— ment to reach its maximum contraction), apex (duration of maximum contraction) and offset (time till the contraction becomes invisible) in numbers of occur— rences ‘0 TIDBIIAID OISE! 99 "=84 EIPO ONSET 99 III” IEDIAI=3 IEDIAI=2 [INT]!!! (fries) Brow Movements 287 VAIOIAII .5 orrstl 99 ".8. IIDIAI J 'IIOIAII APE X 99 n=9l '° IEDIAI=7 5 I0 20 .MMIU (fr-5) ("0 OHS“ 99 n 79 I5 DIIIAHOI (fr-Ins) NIB”. 3 (”'0 m A"! I. 0‘90 I‘DIAI 6 5 lo 20...
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