MCAT Content / Emotion / Universal Emotions

Universal Emotions

Topic: Emotion

There is substantial evidence for seven universal emotions that are each associated with distinct facial expressions: happiness, surprise, sadness, fright, disgust, contempt, and anger.

Despite different emotional display rules, our ability to recognize and produce facial expressions of emotion appears to be universal. In fact, even congenitally blind individuals produce the same facial expression of emotions, despite never having the opportunity to observe these facial displays of emotion in other people. This would seem to suggest that the pattern of activity in facial muscles involved in generating emotional expressions is universal. There is substantial evidence for seven universal emotions that are each associated with distinct facial expressions. These include happiness, surprise, sadness, fright, disgust, contempt, and anger.

Practice Questions

 

Khan Academy

 

MCAT Official Prep (AAMC)

Section Bank P/S Section Passage 8 Question 58


Key Points

• Despite different emotional display rules, our ability to recognize and produce facial expressions of emotion appears to be universal.

• There is substantial evidence for seven universal emotions that are each associated with distinct facial expressions. These include: happiness, surprise, sadness, fright, disgust, contempt, and anger


Key Terms

emotion: subjective state of being often described as feelings



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