The recognition of facial expressions of emotion : a cross-cultural study.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Cross-cultural research on the recognition of facial expressions of emotions have shown that the primary emotions of happiness, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt and fear can be identified between different cultures. Few investigators, however, have managed to successfully study the influence of display rules. Study One tested Maori and Pakeha subjects with facial expressions of the primary emotions and an expression of neutrality, posed by Maori and Pakeha models. It was hypothesized that the recognition accuracy scores would be above chance for all the emotional expressions. Furthermore, the accuracy scores and the confidence ratings should be greater when subjects judged expressions of members of their own culture, than of the other culture. Study Two investigated the influence of display rules when subjects were asked to match expressions to emotional situations. The hypotheses tested were that the overall matching accuracy of the display rule expressions would be above chance, for all the subjects and that the confidence and accuracy scores would be higher when SUbjects were tested with expressions posed by members of their own culture, than from the other culture. The results of Study One indicated that agreements between cultures, regarding the correct interpretation of expressions, were low. The Pakeha subjects were found to be better interpreters of the facial expressions; however the Maori models were more effective at sending the emotional information. The second Study failed to find evidence of cultural display rules, however, cultural-general display rules were evident. It was discovered that negative emotions were under more social control than positive emotions. Several limitations are noted in the present study. The implications of this study on future research are mainly methodological and a strategy for researching display-rules is suggested.