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A fourth theoretical tradition has been gaining influence once more (see: Cornelius, 1996). This fourth, evolutionary tradition, started in the late 19th century with Charles Darwin's publication of a book on the expression of emotions in man and animals.[1] Darwin's original thesis was that emotions evolved via natural selection for reasons of warning other creatures about your intentions (e.g. a cat with a high back is angry and will strike you unless you back off). Darwin argued that for mankind emotions were no longer functional but are epiphenomena of functional associated habits. Such an evolutionary origin would predict emotions to be cross-culturally universal. Confirmation of this biological origins was provided by Paul Ekman's seminal research on facial expressions in humans. Other research in this area focuses on physical displays of emotion including body language of animals and facial expressions in humans. The increased potential in neuroimaging has allowed investigation of this idea focusing on the working brain itself.

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  1. Darwin, Charles (1872). The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals. Note: This book was originally published in 1872, but has been reprinted many times thereafter by different publishers

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