76 views7 pages
Chapter 8: Culture and Emotion
The Evolution of Human Emotion
# emotions color our life experiences; inform us of who we are, what our relationships with others are like, and
how to behave: emotions give meanings to events
# feelings (subjective experience) are part of emotion but not emotion itself
# emotions: transient, neuropsychological response to a stimulus that excites a coordinated system of
components; they inform us about our relationship to the stimulus and prepare us to deal with it in some way
# system of components includes subjective experience (feelings); expressive behavior (face, voice or other
nonverbal actions); physiological reactions (increased heart rate, faster breathing); motor behavior (moving
towards or away from an object); and cognition (specific patterns of thinking)
# emotions are (1) quick; they last only a few secs or minutes; (2) functional they tell us something important
about our relationship to the emotion-eliciting stimulus, they help prepare our bodies for action and have
important social meaning
# emotions help us solve complex social coordination problems that occur because human social life is complex
# all humans have emotions; universal aspect of human functioning
# emotion evolved! nonhuman primates have some emotions; our emotions are more complex and
differentiated: our language ability allows us to make many fine distinctions among emotions
# humans have cognitive representations of self and others as intentional agents, humans uniquely have
emotions that are associated with self-reflective processes
# self-conscious emotions: shame, guilt, pride and embarrassment
# because humans have cognitive representations of self and others as intentional agents, humans uniquely have
the construct of morality, in which moral emotions such as contempt and disgust play an important role
# disgust: nonhuman primates share with humans a biologically based version of disgust that helps them to
avoid or expel nasty objects, but only humans have the interpersonal version of disgust, in which we can be
disgusted at others as people (i.e. moral version of disgust)
# humans can feign emotion: lie about it by displaying it when they do not feel it, or expressing an emotion
different from the one they are feeling
# because emotions are neurophysiological realities, there are many pancultural aspects to them
Universality in Emotion: the basic emotions perspective
# anger, disgust, fear, enjoyment, sadness and surprise are known as basic emotionsexpressed universally in
all humans via facial expressions
o they are brought about by the same types of underlying psychological elicitors; associated with unique
physiological signatures in both the central and ANS, which are part of a coordinated response system that
prepares individuals to flight, flee or jump of joy
o nonhuman primates such as chimps also show the same base of emotions, expressing them in their faces in
the same ways and using them in the same manner to solve social problems
The original Universality Studies
# most of contemporary cross-cultural research on facial expressions of emotion stems from writings of Charles
# Darwin suggested that facial expressions of emotion, like other behaviors, are biologically innate and
evolutionarily adaptive. He argued that humans express emotions in their faces in exactly the same ways
around the world, regardless of race or culture. Facial expressions also seen across species
# Facial expressions of emotions have both communicative and adaptive value. They ensure survival for the
species by providing both intrapsychic information to the individual, about well-being and person-
environment relationships, and social info for others in the community
# Mead and Birdwhistell argued that facial expressions of emotions could not be universal; instead, they
suggested that facial expressions of emotion had to be learned, much like language. Just has different cultures
had different languages, they also had different facial expressions of emotion
# Ekman, Friesen and Izard conducted first set of methodologically sound studies
o Conducted series of studies now called the universality studies (demonstrate pancultural universality of
facial expressions of emotion)
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-2 of the document.
Unlock all 7 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in
o 4 different types of studies:
1) selected photos of facial expressions of emotion they thought portrayed universally recognizable emotions
# researchers showed these photos to observers in 5 different countries and asked observers to label each
# if the expressions were universal, the researchers reasoned, judges in all cultures would agree on what
emotion was being portrayed; if the expressions were culturally specific, judges from different cultures should
# data revealed very high level of agreement across all observers in all 5 cultures in the interpretation of 6
emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise
# problem with these studies: all cultures included in the research were literate, industrialized and relatively
modern could have learned how to interpret the facial expressions in the photos shared visual input across
the cultures studied
2) Ekman et al conducted studies in 2 preliterate tribes of New Guinea
# allowed participants to select a story that best described a facial expression instead of using emotion words.
Data similar to those obtained in literate societies
# judgment of posed expression by preliterate cultures constitute 2nd evidence to support universality
3) took New guinea research a step further
asked different members to show on their faces what they would
look like if they experienced the different emotions
# photos taken of expressions and shown to Americans to label the emotion! data similar to previous studies
# judgments of expressions posed by preliterate tribes constituted a 3rd source of evidence for universality
4) study in US and Japan asked subjects to view highly stressed stimuli as their facial reactions were videotaped
w/o their awareness
# analysis of video showed that Americans and Japanese did show exactly the same types of facial expressions
at the same points in time and these expressions correspond to the same expressions that were considered
universal in the judgment research
# data from spontaneous facial expressions of emotion constitutes 4th line of evidence in the original set of
universality studies
# all 4 studies comprise what is commonly known in the field as the original originality studies that provided
the initial evidence for the universality of anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise
Universality in Emotion Antecedents
# emotion antecedents: events or situations that trigger or elicit an emotion; also known as emotion elicitors
# Boucher and Brandt study indicated that Americans correctly classified the antecedents equally well
regardless of whether they were originally generated by Americans or by Malaysians; that is, culture of origin
did not affect their classification
# Scherer et aldid studies using questionnaires designed to assess the quality and nature of emotional
experience in many different cultures
o Asked respondents about when they last felt anger, fear, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, shame and guilt
respondents wrote about their situations that brought about each of these emotions
o Trained coders, then coded the situations described by participants into general categories such as good
news and bad news, temporary and permanent separation and success and failure in achievement situations
o Findings: no culture-specific antecedent category was necessary to code the data, indicating that all
categories of events generally occurred in all cultures to produce each of the 7 emotions studied. They also
found many similarities across cultures in the relative frequency with which each of the antecedent events
elicited emotions
o Findings support the view that emotion antecedents are universal across cultures
Universality in Emotion Appraisal Processes
# emotion appraisal can be defined as a process by which people evaluate the events, situations, or occurrences
that lead to their having emotions
# Scherer et al: respondents described events that brought about their emotions + asked how they appraised or
evaluated those events
# Findings: emotion appraisal processes were more similar than different across cultures
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-2 of the document.
Unlock all 7 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in

Get access

$10 USD/m
Billed $120 USD annually
Homework Help
Study Guides
Textbook Solutions
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
Booster Class
40 Verified Answers
$8 USD/m
Billed $96 USD annually
Homework Help
Study Guides
Textbook Solutions
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
Booster Class
30 Verified Answers