Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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Culture shapes how people express and feel emotions in specific situations and certain aspects of emotions vary across cultures. Body expressions are as powerful as facial expressions in conveying emotions, with North Americans tending to exhibit more exaggerated emotional body language (EBL) than East Asians (Scherer et al., 2018). Our study used two experiments to explore whether individuals' emotion recognition of EBL was affected by cultural background information. Experiment 1 recruited fifty Chinese participants to explored whether individual recognition of emotions was affected by the cultural background of the expresser. We found that participants were more likely to perceive the expresser as an American for high-arousal emotions and to perceive the expresser as a Chinese for low-arousal emotions. Thiry-eight Chinese participants were recruited in Experiment 2a and Experiment 2b respectively. The results (2a) showed that when the expressers were contextualized within an American cultural environment, participants demonstrated faster reaction times and higher accuracy in recognizing happiness, anger, and fear EBL as opposed to a Chinese cultural environment. However, when the identity of the expressers was ‘American’ or ‘Chinese’, there were no significant difference in the participants' recognition of the expressers's emotions (2b). In conclusion, cultural background information plays a significant role in emotion recognition and cross-cultural communication.

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