Biographies de neurologues
Nouvelle Iconographie de La Salpêtrière
 L'histoire des neurosciences à La Pitié et à La Salpêtrière J Poirier
The history of neurosciences at La Pitié and La Salpêtrière J Poirier 

mise à jour du
 10 décembre 2006
The emotions and the will
Alexander Bain in english
Professor of logic in the university of Aberdeen
London : Longmans, Green, and Co.


alexander bain 
page 113-115
Next to experience of the Feelings, is experience of the Signs. These are the recognized expression of human and other sentient beings, by Voice, Movement, Gesture, and Demonstrations of every kind.
Probably the foremost place among the associated signs of feeling should be given to the voice. One reason is that we are at all times affected by our own voice, whereas we do not see our own features. Another reason may be that the shock of a sound, being a transition from silence, is more impressive than a mere variation in the appearance of what already occupies the eye. In the third place, the emission of sound is the most wide-spread of all the significant signs of the mental states of animals and human beings.
The Visible Movements are impressive according to their suddenness, their rapidity, their extent. Of many of our own movements, we are sufficiently conscious to connect them with our states of feeling. The start, the bound, the run,-under the emotions of sudden joy, anger, or fright,-are distinctly felt by ourselves; and are associated with the feelings, so as to give a key to the states of other men. What we fail most in is the expression of the features, together with those changes of colour and complexion that accompany the mental moods.
In this situation, we are assisted by another class of indications of feeling that are not properly speaking the expression of feeling, but are still the medium of knowing the states of others. These are the known causes, collaterals, and consequences of our various pleasures and pains; including all the outward agencies and all the proceedings that follow. The sight of a hot coal in contact with the skin suggests the pain of a burn; and, when this happens to anyone in our presence, we know their acute suffering; and seeing the movements of the features at that moment, we have the means of knowing what are the signs expressive of acute pain. So we interpret the operation of pleasure: we know the pleasure of sweetness in connexion with a piece of sugar; we mark the alterations of the countenance in the child or other unsophisticated partaker of the delight, and thus obtain indirectly a knowledge of the connexion of pleasure with the movements in smiling.
Only by this circuitous method can we interpret changes of the countenance aud complexion-the crimson blush, the pallor, the brightening or the suffusion of the eye.
Since we connect, at first hand, vocal sounds with feelings, we can use the indications of sound to learn the additional signs of visible expression. A cry of pain calls our attention to the pained individual; we already know the state of mind, and we farther watch the movements and gestures, and learn ti connect these with the same state.
Another medium for learning the Signs of feeling is given in the gregarious situation of the sociable animals. Creatures living together are affected by the same causes, and take on the same feelings. In this way, each one, while conscious of the feeling, witnesses its expression in the rest. The pleasures of abundant meals, the excitement of the chase, the terror of being preyed upon, are all felt and expressed in company; the coincidence of the feeling and the language cannot be mistaken; and there inevitably follows an association between the two.
The rate of associating growth between the Feelings and these various Signs follows the laws applicable to the case. Besides repetition, there are to be taken into account, the intensity of the feelings on the one hand, and the impressiveness of the signs on the other. As regards the signs, they should by their quality, impress themselves on the senses; they should also be distinctive. The sharp cutting sound of a cough, and the sound of a person talking hoarse, are known to to be contagious; and the probable reason is the intensity or expressiveness. The contagiousness of the yawn may be due to the same cause. Laughter is more powerful than either; combining, as it does, strong sensations both of sight and of hearing
The connecting of Feelings with Signs depends upon the Intellectual forces on the whole. A feeble intelligence fails in this as in other branches of acquirement. Hence one reason for man's being superior in sympathy to the brutes; also for the more sympathetic character of the higher races, and of the most intelligent individuals. This is qualified, but not contradicted, by cases where the intellectual forces are concentrated on other subjects; a man may have great intellect and yet not expend it in either multiplying or deepening associations with the Feelings.
alexander bainalexander bain

Mental and moral science
Appendix p67
Instinctive beliefs (Fundamental laws of belief Dugald Stewart)
The other Laws of Belief resemble the axioms of Geometry in two respecte: let, they do not enlarge our knowledge; and secondly, they are implied or involved in all our reasonings. Stewart advances two objections to the phrase-principles of common sense: it designates, as principles, laws of belief from which no inference can be deduced; and secondly, it refers the origin of these laws to common sense, a phraseology that he considers unfit for the logician, and unwarranted by ordinary usage.
Stewart defends the alleged, instinctive power of interpreting certain expressions of the countenance, certain gestures of the body, and certain tones of the. voice. This had been resolved by Priestley into associated experiences: but, for the other opinion, Stewart offers two reasons: (1) Children understand the meaning of smiles and frowns long before they could remark the connexion between a passion and its expression. (2) We are more affected by natural signs than by artificial ones. One is more affected by the facial expression of hatred than by the word hatred.
Another instinct adduced by Stewart, is what he calls the law of Sympathetic Imitation. This is contrasted with the intentional imitation of a scholar; it depends "on the mimical powers connected with our bodily frame." If we see a man laughing or sad, we have a tendency to take on the expression of those states. So yawning is contagious. "Even when we conceive in solitude the expression of any passion, the effect of the conception is visible in our own appearance." Also, we imitate instinctively the tones and accents of our companions. As we advance in years, this propensity to imitation grows weaker.
alexander bain