Trigger happy? Case Study : Human Emotions

Why do we swear in our mother tongue (other than the fact that it comes in handy)? Why did some people mourn the death of Princess Diana as if she were their own relative, while others couldn't have cared less? Why do we react in different ways when our emotions are same?

"The first primitive means of expression was the gesture. When gesture became more sophisticated, they evolved into signs. " Examples of symbolic emotional expression can be seen in Indian classical dance or in Buddha's graceful mudras.

Or what about the Japanese anime style of emoticons? While the West thinks we should tilt our head, the East prevents us from cricking our neck.

Even cooler is this Japanese emoticon representing a kneeling or bowing person. It represents failure and despair, also commonly used for admiration (sometimes with sarcasm) for someone else's view or action. Ideographic scripts, like those of China and Japan, are known to combine various signs and symbols to create meaning.

Different cultures, different expressions. So much to draw from. So much we ignore.

and yes, Emotions are pretty much same everywhere. What differs are the Triggers of Emotion.

"When I studied studied members of a stone age culture in New Guinea in the late 1960s, I found they were afraid of being attacked by a wild pig. In urban America, people are more afraid of being attacked by a mugger, but both cases represent a threat of harm. It is obvious how the idiosyncratic variations, each person's own emotional triggers, are acquired. They are learnt, reflecting what each of us experiences(mugger or wild pig)."

- Paul Ekman "Emotions Revealed"

The idiosyncrasies and quirks of the people, place and pieces build up our grey encyclopedia. Its a big world out there with cultures still undiscovered, knowledge still untapped, and instances of unconscious design yet to be decoded. Where do you begin?