Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Culture Shapes the Distinctiveness of Posed and Spontaneous Facial Expressions of Anger and Disgust

Version 1 : Received: 13 April 2021 / Approved: 15 April 2021 / Online: 15 April 2021 (16:45:31 CEST)

How to cite: Fang, X.; Sauter, D.; Heerdink, M.; van Kleef, G. Culture Shapes the Distinctiveness of Posed and Spontaneous Facial Expressions of Anger and Disgust. Preprints 2021, 2021040424 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202104.0424.v1). Fang, X.; Sauter, D.; Heerdink, M.; van Kleef, G. Culture Shapes the Distinctiveness of Posed and Spontaneous Facial Expressions of Anger and Disgust. Preprints 2021, 2021040424 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202104.0424.v1).

Abstract

There is a growing consensus that culture influences the perception of facial expressions of emotion. However, little is known about whether and how culture shapes the production of emotional facial expressions, and even less so about whether culture differentially shapes the production of posed versus spontaneous expressions. Drawing on prior work on cultural differences in emotional communication, we tested the prediction that people from the Netherlands (a historically heterogeneous culture where people are prone to low-context communication) produce facial expressions that are more distinct across emotions compared to people from China (a historically homogeneous culture where people are prone to high-context communication). Furthermore, we examined whether the degree of distinctiveness varies across posed and spontaneous expressions. Dutch and Chinese participants were instructed to either pose facial expressions of anger and disgust, or to share autobiographical events that elicited spontaneous expressions of anger or disgust. Using the complementary approaches of supervised machine learning and information-theoretic analysis of facial muscle movements, we show that posed and spontaneous facial expressions of anger and disgust were more distinct when produced by Dutch compared to Chinese participants. These findings shed new light on the role of culture in emotional communication by demonstrating, for the first time, effects on the distinctiveness of production of facial expressions.

Subject Areas

culture; facial expressions; emotion; posed; spontaneous

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