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Ideas concerning the evolution of human behavior: Laughing, smiling and being ashamed

 Human Ethology

Laughing and smiling:

Babies smile, adults smile when flirting (Professor Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt published a lot about that), and/or when they are embarrassed, ashamed or out of politeness etc.

Laughing can be aggressive, exclude or expel people from a group, it can serve to build a hierarchy in groups of humans without using physical force. Maybe smiling and laughing has its origins in evolution out of snarling in animals (showing teeth)- an aggression against a common enemy can create a bond- this idea, by the way, is not from Konrad Lorenz but from Niccolò Machiavelli ("Il Principe"). Laughing can punish dissidents in groups of humans and promote homogenuous mindsets/opinions.

Gestures of humility in social mammals:

Dogs and wolves draw in their tails and whine, when they are inferior or weaker than an attacking dog/wolf. Some predatory animals present their unprotected throats to superior/stronger animals of the same species. As far as I know, primates do not show such behaviour, Humans blush when they are ashamed, no other primate species does that. Turning pink is regulated by the autonomic nervous system, but there is no explantion, as far as I know, about its origin in evolution. It could be a gesture of ritualized simulated exhaustion.

( I had these ideas back in 1984 )

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