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


Basically, surprise is the emotion that is activated when a novelty appears, a sudden and unexpected event, either external (when they congratulate us with a gift) or internal / cognitive (when we remember a forgetfulness that we have had). Its function is to pay attention, preparing the individual to devote all his attention to the object of surprise, to be able to effectively face unexpected events. It is an emotion that causes a rapid increase in cognitive activity, in the sense that when the alert system is activated, we begin to process and evaluate the information caused by surprise. So emotion precedes thought. Surprise is the emotion that precedes the others. It is a very short response, which quickly leads to another emotion. For example, When we are surprised by an unexpected visit from someone we love very much, we experience surprise-joy. When we remember to miss an important appointment with our boss, we experience surprise-fear. When someone suddenly speaks to us rudely, we experience surprise.

So surprise is the shortest lasting emotion. If it lasted for minutes, it would start to be dysfunctional. When we feel surprise we are in a state of disorientation.

Characteristic facial features

Surprise is expressed on the face by the following characteristics:

  • Eyebrows that are raised so that they become curved and tall.
  • The skin is stretched under the eyebrows.
  • The eyelids are opened, the upper one is raised and the lower one is lowered, often exposing the sclera above and below the iris.
  • Drop the jaw showing lips and teeth, with no tension around the mouth.
  • Spontaneous or involuntary, surprise is often expressed for only a fraction of a second.


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