Searching for happiness across cultures

Damjanovic, Ljubica and Roberson, Debi and Athanasopoulos, Panos and Kasai, Chise and Dyson, Matthew (2010) Searching for happiness across cultures. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 10 (1). pp. 85-107. ISSN 1568-5373

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Abstract

Three experiments examined the cultural relativity of emotion recognition using the visual search task. Caucasian-English and Japanese participants were required to search for an angry or happy discrepant face target against an array of competing distractor faces. Both cultural groups performed the task with displays that consisted of Caucasian and Japanese faces in order to investigate the effects of racial congruence on emotion detection performance. Under high perceptual load conditions, both cultural groups detected the happy face more efficiently than the angry face. When perceptual load was reduced such that target detection could be achieved by feature-matching, the English group continued to show a happiness advantage in search performance that was more strongly pronounced for other race faces. Japanese participants showed search time equivalence for happy and angry targets. Experiment 3 encouraged participants to adopt a perceptual based strategy for target detection by removing the term 'emotion' from the instructions. Whilst this manipulation did not alter the happiness advantage displayed by our English group, it reinstated it for our Japanese group, who showed a detection advantage for happiness only for other race faces. The results demonstrate cultural and linguistic modifiers on the perceptual saliency of the emotional signal and provide new converging evidence from cognitive psychology for the interactionist perspective on emotional expression recognition.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Cognition and Culture
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3316
Subjects:
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
ID Code: 71194
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 10 Oct 2014 13:44
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2020 09:00
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/71194

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