The most peculiar and human of all expressions

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the most peculiar and human of all expressions

Quote by Charles Darwin: “Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of...”

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Published 19.12.2018

Why Do We Blush?

Darwin in the world of emotions

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For those of us who are particularly prone to the phenomenon—whose faces burn fuchsia at the least opportune moments—blushing is a bodily betrayal. Or needs to. Joshua Zeichner, similar to the simple flush caused by exercise and extreme temperatures. Perhaps this marriage of sex and mortification is why blushing has covered some fertile literary territory. To blush connotes not only virtuousness and vulnerability but also eroticism. The Vbeam is a pulsed-dye-laser treatment that works especially well on broken capillaries or rosacea. More lo-fi options include sucking on an ice cube before a stressful event, or a wellness practice such as yoga or meditation, which can help ease anxiety.

Charles Darwin — 'Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.'.
a yawn is a silent scream for coffee


Jane Austen heroines may pink endearingly at a subtle breach in manners; millions more glow like a lava lamp in what feels like a public disrobing: the face, suddenly buck-naked. People who become severely anxious in social situations often swear that the blush itself is the source of their problems, not a symptom. Doctors may even perform surgery — severing a portion of the sympathetic nerve chain, which runs down the back — to take the red out. It is a crucial signal in social interactions — one that functions more often to smooth over betrayals and blunders than to amplify them. If nothing else, the new findings should take some of the personal sting out of the facial fire shower when it inevitably hits. For decades, research on blushing was itself a kind of embarrassment. The expression is so variable that later researchers thought it might reflect cultural or personal differences.

Charles Darwin. New York: D. Darwin's book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals , is among the most enduring contributions from 19th century psychology. The ideas expressed in its pages have persisted, for better or worse, down through the present, in one form or another. Although premised on an unsupportable interpretation of the nature of "expression," it is this idea that permeates the majority of work on emotional experience within psychology. It deals almost entirely with emotional display, but assumes a great deal about the nature of what is being displayed.

The first edition was published in , thirteen years after the Origin of Species and one year after The Descent of Man. Darwin had, however, been collecting material since His intention was to show how the expressions of the emotions in man were analogous to those in animals, supporting his theory that man and animals were derived from a common ancestor. On opening the book I was delighted to find that Darwin had reproduced many of Duchenne's photographs; particularly striking was the comparison, in the same man, between a normal smile and the ghastly grimace produced by galvanic stimulation Figure 1. Throughout this essay I refer to the third edition, edited by Paul Ekman and published in 1. This contains changes that Darwin wanted but his son Francis chose not to include in the second edition published seven years after Darwin's death.

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