Blind athletes prove that some behaviors are just innate

blind vs sighted athlete

Image via PNAS in The New York Times article "Proud Is Proud, Sighted or Not, Researchers Find" (2008).

Researchers at the University of British Columbia and San Francisco State University have found that nonverbal expressions once assumed to be expressions acquired through interaction with other people are in fact innate.

The study examined the spontaneous reactions of blind and sighted athletes from 37 countries. All of the participants were photographed during and immediately after a match. These images were later coded for behaviors related to feelings of pride and shame. What researches found was that the blind athletes exhibited the same body postures and nonverbal expressions that sighted athletes exhibited–only, they had never seen these gestures.

The researchers raise the possibility that the behavioral responses associated with pride and shame may in fact be evolutionary adaptive functions.

More on the findings can be read in this article.

Mar, Ohn. “Proud Is Proud, Sighted or Not, Researchers Find.” The New York Times. 01 Sept. 2008. Web.

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