What You Need to Know About : Emotion and Communication

The human experience of emotion is ubiquitous. Recently, however, communication theorists and researchers have discovered that the communication of emotion is similarly omnipresent. Emotions are not just private, subjective experiences; universal communication systems are designed to verbally and nonverbally communicate emotions to others.

Social evolutionary theorists recognize that emotional communication evolved because it conferred a selective advantage on expressive individuals. Fear displays, for example, evolved because they provide rapid danger signals to other members of the group, enhancing their collective survival. Across the gamut of human emotions, social evolutionary theorists have shown that every human emotion developed as more than an internal control system; emotions are consistently communicated because they provide powerful survival advantages.

Throughout primate evolution and human history, emotions have been communicated primarily through nonverbal communication. Emotional expression evolved long before the dawn of human language. Indeed, intercultural communication theorists have shown that human nonverbal emotional displays are primarily universal, though small regional “accents” or cultural variations exist. Cross-cultural similarity of emotional expressions indicates human evolutionary adaptations have occurred across the millennia.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.401

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Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan