Posted by & filed under Motivation-Emotion, Neuroscience, Social Cognition.

Description: I am certain that if you heard a scream, you would pay attention to it. However, do you think you would direct different levels of attention to screams of different types? Not sure about what the different types might be? Well, there are, of course, screams of fear or terror but there are also screams of surprise and screams of joy (think lottery wins, seeing old friends, finding a lost kitten). Which type or types of screams do you think we usually process most quickly and efficiently and what might be the evolutionary value in that? Once you have answer, theory and arguments in order read the article linked below to se the rather surprising (to me at least) results of a recent study on this very question.

Source: Joyful screams perceived more strongly than screams of fear or anger, ScienceDaily.

Date: April 13, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Layers from Pixabay

Article Link:

So why might screams of joy be processed so effectively and efficiently in our brains? Wouldn’t it make sense evolutionarily to be primed to process and respond to screams of fear or warning most efficiently? Perhaps the complex nature of human evolution means that there is more to how we respond to screams than simple fight/flight. Think about the implications of a scream of Eureka! That might be rather attention grabbing.

Questions for Discussion:  

  1. Which sorts of screams do our brains respond to most effectively or efficiently?
  2. What value might there be in having an efficient brain response to screams other than screams of fear or pain?
  3. How might the scream responses examined in the research presented in the linked article relate to the evolution of our brains?

References (Read Further): Frühholz, S., Dietziker, J., Staib, M., & Trost, W. (2021). Neurocognitive processing efficiency for discriminating human non-alarm rather than alarm scream calls. PLoS biology, 19(4), e3000751. Link

Arnold, K., & Bar-On, D. (2020). Primate pragmatics, expressive behavior, and the evolution of language. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 7(2), 117-130. Link

Fischer, J. (2017). Primate vocal production and the riddle of language evolution. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 24(1), 72-78. Link

Bryant, G. A. (2020). The evolution of human vocal emotion. Emotion Review, 1754073920930791. Link

Engelberg, J. W., Schwartz, J. W., & Gouzoules, H. (2019). Do human screams permit individual recognition?. PeerJ, 7, e7087. Link

Rakici, S. Y., & Karaman, E. (2019). Colorful screams of silent emotions: A study with oncological patients. Indian journal of palliative care, 25(3), 361. Link

Frühholz, S., Dietziker, J., Staib, M., & Trost, W. (2020). Neurocognitive processing efficiency for non-alarm rather than alarm signaling in human scream calls. bioRxiv. Link