Boo! Culture, Experience, and the Startle Reflex (Series in by Ronald Simons

By Ronald Simons

The startle reflex presents a revealing version for reading the ways that advanced neurophysiology shapes own adventure and styles of recurrent social interplay. within the such a lot diversified cultural contexts, in societies greatly separated through time and area, the inescapable body structure of the reflex either shapes the adventure of startle and biases the social usages to which the reflex is positioned. This booklet describes ways that the startle reflex is skilled, culturally elaborated, and socially utilized in a large choice of occasions and areas. It deals motives either for the patterned commonalities stumbled on throughout cultural settings and for the variations engendered through assorted social environments. Boo! will intrigue readers in fields akin to mental anthropology, clinical anthropology, common cultural anthropology, social psychology, cross-cultural psychiatry, evolutionary psychology, and human ethology.

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Extra resources for Boo! Culture, Experience, and the Startle Reflex (Series in Affective Science)

Example text

People who lose their composure as a result of being startled are often perceived as incompetent and amusing. In Interaction Ritual, Erving Goffman explained why this is so. The significant point here is that we find composure a concern and a value in many different cultures and across many different strata. There seem to be two major reasons for this. 30 Startle and Hyperstartle First, whenever an individual is in the immediate presence of others, especially when he is cooperatively involved with them— as in, for example, the joint maintenance of a state of talk—his capacity as a competent interactant is important to them.

M. I walked into what I thought was an empty elevator and there was a person in the corner. I jumped and vocalized. There was really no reason to be scared of this person. The other typical situation occurs when I'm working hard at a desk and someone comes up behind me or alongside me. I jump so much that people really react strangely. (Laura White, 1977, interview) The first time I remember going into a standing alarm posture when startled while sleeping was my freshman year in college (1965).

Analytically and at length) discussed it. And this was not because of embarrassment, but rather because in the United States, where she jogs and teaches and helps with the sheep, the condition of hyperstartling has no common name and is not culturally marked. But there are other places in the world where the condition of people like Ms. Gould has a name and where there are customary ways of dealing with and thinking about it. 38 Startle and Hyperstartle Although it is not culturally marked, hyperstartling occurs not infrequently in America, and stories about hyperstartlers can be found.

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