Santa Barbara assesses Psychological Adaptations (PAs) by efficiency and presumed survival value in the presumed environment of our species' birth. The efforts are imaginative but painstaking and sometimes indirect. There aren't many photographs of PAs.
Segerstrale & Molnar's book has 15 chapters of data supported by pictures. (We all could use more pictures!)(1) Each chapter can stand on its own or can be assimilated in the context of its section ("New Findings on Universality of Human Nonverbal Communication," "Development of Emotions in a Social and Cultural Context," "The Social Role of Nonverbal Communication: Evolutionary Inferences," or "Nonverbal Communication as a Mediator Between Nature and Culture.")
The papers are from a conference at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld, Germany, in March '92. There are chapters by Ekman & Keltner, Dimberg, Schiefenhovel, Papousek & Papousek, Schneider, Suomi, Marler & Evans, Preuschoft & van Hoof, Maryanski, Turner, Goldschmidt, Heller, Nitschke, and Frank. There's a lot of detail but clearly presented.
Although there are numerous acknowledgments of the role of culture, the prevailing wind is like that of the Adapted Mind; culture is often uniform across peoples when you look at the correct variables. There's a lot of interesting material about facial motor behavior, its association with consistent autonomic changes, its sometimes independence from voluntary control, and the changes elicited in people who see the facial display. One of the projects directed subjects to "Pull your eyebrows down and together, raise your upper eyelid, tighten your lower eyelid, narrow your lips and press them together." These instructions elicited greater heart rate acceleration and increased skin conductance than comparable directions for producing a happy face. Comparable facial and ANS changes occurred when people were asked to imagine being angry or when they looked at a photograph of an angry person's face.
Replication? There are instances of systematic replication. That is, the same lab accepts their initial findings as valid and pursues a change in directions or subjects. To the extent that the second study is consistent with the first, the first may be considered to be systematically replicated (Sidman, 1960). I'm not sure about the extent of replication by independent research groups. My original training was to believe nothing until it had been replicated by someone who hated the original study.(2)
The book is fun for people interested in the details of human conduct. It could have clinical relevance for clients who are not successful at detecting insincerity or reading people's intentions. (My own life might have been different had Eibl-Eibesfeldt taught me how to detect flirting behavior!) It's also an introduction to an entirely different literature that is consistent with concepts of Psych Adaptations and the modular nature of complex human behavior.
Incidentally, I found the paper stock and type faces kind to my middle aged eyes. Thanks Erlbaum!
1) David Brenner once commented that he got his sex education from National Geographic and thought for years that naked women were required to carry a spear.
2) There can be problems with independent replication. A wag (Jim Olds?) commented once that Eliot Valenstein became famous because he couldn't duplicate other people's results. This happened in the glory days of brain stimulation and white rats.
Segerstrale U & Molnar P. Nonverbal communication: Where nature meets culture. Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum, 309 pages, $24.95 (hardcover).
Sidman M (1960) Tactics of scientific research: Evaluating experimental data in psychology. NY: Basic Books.