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Wei Sun, Oliver G.B.Garrod, Philippe G.Schyns, Rachael E.Jack; Dynamic mental models of culture-specific emotions. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):593. doi: 10.1167/13.9.593.
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According to the Universality Hypothesis, facial expressions of emotion comprise a universal set of six basic signals common to all humans (i.e., happy, surprise, fear, disgust, anger, sad; Ekman et al., 1969). In contrast, Jack et al. (2012) demonstrate that although Western Caucasians (WC) represent the six basic emotions with the same dynamic facial movements, East Asians (EA) do not. This raises the questions of (1) what are the basic emotions in the EA culture? and (2) what are the corresponding culture-specific facial signals of emotion transmission?
To address the first question, we clustered emotion words in WC (English, 50 observers) and EA (Chinese, 50 observers) culture. Each participant rated on a bipolar scale the pairwise similarity of selected emotion words in their own language (see Methods). We applied clustering analyses to these data. The English clusters comprised 8 emotion categories including the six basic ones, plus pride and shame (e.g., Tracey & Robins, 2004). In contrast, the Chinese clusters showed a more complex structure of 10 basic emotions (see Figure S1).
Using the resulting basic emotion categories as response labels, we applied 4-dimensional reverse correlation (Yu et al. 2012) to reconstruct culture-specific face signals that transmit each emotion. As in Jack et al. (2012), on each experimental trial the observer viewed a random facial animation generated by computer graphics platform. Observers interpreted the facial animation as expressive when the facial movements corresponded with their mental representation of that emotion (Figure S2). Reverse correlation analyses produced, for each observer, a dynamic model per basic emotion.
Our analyses revealed culture-specific facial expression signals, refuting the University Hypothesis. For the first time, we also derive the cultural face signals that articulate emotion communication in the EA culture (see Figure S3 for examples).
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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