to common forms of communication: ‘‘I think that this situation does not occuronly in portraits. I believe that people position themselves in such a way as tohave an eye in the center, as a corporeal standard, a form of communication.They tilt their heads a bit, turn their bodies as they interact [
. . .
]. People generallydo this subconsciously’’ [
].I cannot evaluate perception processes by way of functional magnetic reson-ance imaging (fMRI), which allows one to determine which areas of the brainrespond to certain stimuli. What this study demonstrates to us as social scientistshas been the topic of courses, debates and seminars: namely the importance of visuality, vision and the association that we Westerners make between visionand knowledge. As an anthropologist, I would gladly do research based on theearly results of this study, aiming to identify the relationship that exists amongforms of communication in different cultures, body postures during the act of communication, and the way in which these cultures favor the sensory organs(the value that they attribute to each of them). Anthony Seeger  has alreadydemonstrated that the ornamentation of an organ can be related to its symbolicsignificance in a society and that, for this reason, ‘‘ornaments should be treatedas symbols with a variety of references and examined as a system.’’ Thus ‘‘Theornamentation of the ears and mouth may perfectly indicate the symbolic impor-tance of hearing and speech to the extent that these faculties are defined in aspecific society’’ [Seeger 1980: 44–45].In this sense, the results of Tyler’s study, though intriguing, are not surprising.In the West today, our perception is above all visual and spatial, and our relation-ship with the world is eminently visual; sight is the faculty that common sensefavors as the organ of knowledge. We know that even in the Western traditionthis has not always been the case.
In the 16th century it was hearing. And that was already a change. Of a wise man theRomans said, ‘‘He has a fine nose.’’ Horace said, ‘‘
Homo naris emunclae, homo obesae naris
.’’Today we say: ‘‘He is a man of vision.’’ And our forebears in the 16th century said: ‘‘Hehas an astute ear; he can hear the grass grow.
. . .
’’ It is a curious progression. First wassmell, the animal sense; then hearing, a more refined sense. Finally, sight, the intellectualsense. [Febvre 1953: 5, my trans.]
Lucien Febvre adds that even the invention of the printing press did notimmediately lead to the favoring of sight, given that in the 16th century peopleread aloud rather than silently
or were read to. The Restoration was in fullswing, and the Bible was the foundation of religious beliefs. Luther, Calvinand Zwingli were drawn with a large book in their hands, the printed Bible.But they invoke the
. ‘‘They do not read the Epistles of Paul. They hearthe word of God through the voice of St. Paul, [
. . .
]. Faith was hearing [
. . .
of the Christian are the ears’’ [
By the 19th century sight had become not only a means of knowledge butequally the object of knowledge and research. Ne´lia Dias  shows the extentto which French anthropologists such as Paul Broca, of the AnthropologicalSociety of Paris, sought to study visual acuity, vision problems, color perception,eye color, and the anatomic evolution of the eye, at the precise moment when
Image and Social Sciences 279
D o w nl o ad ed B y : [ P o n tifi ci a U ni v e r sid ad J a v e ri a n a . Bibli o t e c a Alf o n s o B o r r e r o C ab al , S . J .] A t : 21 :43 17 J a n u a r y 2011