Evaluation of sentic theory nullified by Misunderstood Theory and inferior sound: A reply to nettelbeck, henderson, and willson
Version of Record online: 2 FEB 2011
1989 Australian Psychological Society
Australian Journal of Psychology
Volume 41, Issue 3, pages 327–337, December 1989
How to Cite
Clynes, M. (1989), Evaluation of sentic theory nullified by Misunderstood Theory and inferior sound: A reply to nettelbeck, henderson, and willson. Australian Jnl of Psychology, 41: 327–337. doi: 10.1080/00049538908260094
- Issue online: 2 FEB 2011
- Version of Record online: 2 FEB 2011
- Received 30 May 1989.
Nettelbeck, Henderson, and Willson (1989) attempted to evaluate aspects of sentic theory inappropriately by (a) disregarding the need of repeated expression to generate emotion, especially in their touch experiments; (b) using acoustically degraded sounds; (c) using correlation indices for testing similarity of shapes, which cannot differentiate appropriately between variations of shapes of the kind involved; (d) not correcting for different arm weights in comparing touch expressions and consistency among individuals, and other anomalies. Nevertheless, results of forced choice recognition of four of the six expressive sounds tested were largely in accordance with Clynes and Nettheim's (1982) results; only one sound (sex) failed to be recognised as expected. It is integral to the theory that generating emotion by dynamic expression is a cumulative, bootstrap process that takes a number of repetitions (Clynes 1977, 1980, 1988) - a single expression having minimal effects. Their results with touch expression have little significance since they asked subjects to respond to only one expression of each emotion only once before switching to another emotion; and because they asked subjects, bizzarely, to switch emotions 110 times in a half-hour session. Consequently, their conclusion, that humans cannot communicate specific emotion by sound and touch (contrary to the contagion of emotion affirmed by sentic theory), is invalid.