Surprise

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Surprise.jpg

Etymology

Middle English suppryse exaction, seizure, from Anglo-French sousprise, supprise, from feminine of supris, surpris, suspris, past participle of surprendre & susprendre to capture, take by surprise, from sur- & sus-, suz under + prendre to take —

Definitions

  • 1 a : an attack made without warning
b : a taking unawares
  • 2 : something that surprises
  • 3 : the state of being surprised : astonishment
For lessons on the topic of Surprise, follow this link.

Description

Surprise is a brief emotional state that is the result of experiencing an unexpected relevant event. Surprise can have any valence; that is, it can be neutral, pleasant, or unpleasant.

Surprise is expressed in the face by the following features:

  • Eyebrows that are raised so they become curved and high.
  • Stretched skin below the eyebrows.
  • Horizontal wrinkles across the forehead.
  • Open eyelids: the upper lid is raised and the lower lid is drawn down, often exposing the white sclera above and below the iris.
  • Dropped jaw so that the lips and teeth are parted, with no tension around the mouth.

Spontaneous, involuntary surprise is often expressed for only a fraction of a second. It may be followed immediately by the emotion of fear, joy or confusion. The intensity of the surprise is associated with how much the jaw drops, but the mouth may not open at all in some cases. The raising of the eyebrows, at least momentarily, is the most distinctive and predictable sign of surprise.

Reference

  1. Ekman, P. & Friesen, W. V. (1975). Unmasking the face. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.