The Social Signal Value of Emotion Expressions: The Impact of Context and Culture

author: Ursula Hess, Department of Psychology, Humboldt University of Berlin
published: July 2, 2015,   recorded: May 2015,   views: 1545


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Emotions are not expressed in a social vacuum. Rather, they are expressed in a social context. Thus, the same smile may signal something very different when shown in response to the success of another person or their failure. In human interactions context is often implicitly described by the normative expectations that people have with regard to an event and the likely reactions of the protagonists. These expectations also vary with culture. Thus, the same expressions may be expected and appropriate in one cultural context but less appropriate in another. In this presentation I discuss the impact of context and culture for the social signals that are transmitted through emotion expressions.

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