Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/452

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436
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

led to observe infants, as exhibiting emotions with extraordinary force, as well as with a simplicity and an absence of convention which cease with more mature years. Secondly, the insane had to be studied, being liable to the strongest passions, and giving them uncontrolled vent. Dr. Duchenne's ingenious application of photography, representing the effects of galvanism upon the facial muscles of an old man, gave some assistance toward distinguishing varieties of expression. Less aid than was expected was found to be derived from the study of the great masters in painting and sculpture; beauty in works of art excluding the display of strong facial muscles, and the story of the composition being generally told by accessories skilfully introduced. More important it was to ascertain how far the same expressions and gestures prevail among all races of mankind, especially among those who have associated but little with Europeans. With this view a list of 16 questions was circulated by Mr. Darwin within the last five years, to which 36 answers have been received from missionaries, travellers, and other observers of aboriginal tribes, whose names are appended to Mr. Darwin's introductory remarks. The evidence thus accumulated has been supplemented by the close and keen observation of the author himself through a wide range of animal life. It seemed to him of paramount importance to bestow all the attention possible upon the expression, of the several passions in various animals, not, of course, as deciding how far in man certain expressions are characteristic of certain states of mind; but as affording the safest basis for generalization on the causes or the origin of the various movements of expression. In observing animals we are not so likely to be biassed by our imagination, and we may feel sure that their expressions are not conventional.

"As the result of his observations, Mr. Darwin has arrived at three principles, which appear to him to account for most of the expressions used by man and the lower animals under the influence of various emotions and sensations. The first of these is the principle of serviceable associated habits. Movements which are of service in gratifying some desire, or in relieving some sensation, become by repetition so habitual that they are performed, whether they are of any service or not, whenever the same desire or sensation is felt, even in a very weak degree. Actions, which were at first performed consciously, become, through habit and association, reflex or automatic—the sensory nerve-cells exciting the motor nerve-cells, without first communicating with those cells on which our consciousness and volition depend. Starting at the approach of danger, and blinking with the eyelids so as to protect the eyes, become perfectly spontaneous. Reflex actions, too, gained for one purpose, may be modified independently of the will or of habit, so as to serve for some other distinct purpose; or, they may be developed through natural selection. And they are thus often brought into play in connection with movements expressive of emotion. When movements associated through habit with certain mental states are partially