Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

The evolutionarily novel context of clinical caregiving and facial displays of pain

Karen L. Schmidt a1
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260


Evolutionary explanations of pain expression require modeling social adaptations in a context where the role of health professionals as potential caregivers, conflicts with their status as relative strangers. As signals of help elicitation or of alarm, facial pain displays and responses to displays, particularly in the upper face, are expected to conform to this evolutionarily novel clinical context.