Four not six: revealing culturally common facial expressions of emotion

Jack, R. E. , Sun, W., Delis, I., Garrod, O. G. B. and Schyns, P. G. (2016) Four not six: revealing culturally common facial expressions of emotion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(6), pp. 708-730. (doi: 10.1037/xge0000162) (PMID:27077757)

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As a highly social species, humans generate complex facial expressions to communicate a diverse range of emotions. Since Darwin’s work, identifying amongst these complex patterns which are common across cultures and which are culture-specific has remained a central question in psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and more recently machine vision and social robotics. Classic approaches to addressing this question typically tested the cross-cultural recognition of theoretically motivated facial expressions representing six emotions, and reported universality. Yet, variable recognition accuracy across cultures suggests a narrower cross-cultural communication, supported by sets of simpler expressive patterns embedded in more complex facial expressions. We explore this hypothesis by modelling the facial expressions of over 60 emotions across two cultures, and segregating out the latent expressive patterns. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, we first map the conceptual organization of a broad spectrum of emotion words by building semantic networks in two cultures. For each emotion word in each culture, we then model and validate its corresponding dynamic facial expression, producing over 60 culturally valid facial expression models. We then apply to the pooled models a multivariate data reduction technique, revealing four latent and culturally common facial expression patterns that each communicates specific combinations of valence, arousal and dominance. We then reveal the face movements that accentuate each latent expressive pattern to create complex facial expressions. Our data questions the widely held view that six facial expression patterns are universal, instead suggesting four latent expressive patterns with direct implications for emotion communication, social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and social robotics.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Facial expressions, emotion, communication, culture, psychophysics.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jack, Professor Rachael and Garrod, Dr Oliver and Schyns, Professor Philippe and Delis, Dr Ioannis
Authors: Jack, R. E., Sun, W., Delis, I., Garrod, O. G. B., and Schyns, P. G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN (Online):1939-2222
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 American Psychological Association
First Published:First published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 145(6): 708-730
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
590701Mapping the Cultural Landscape of Emotions for Social InteractionRachael JackEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/K001973/1S&E PSY - PSYCHOLOGY
595751Mapping Cultural Differences in Facial Expressions of Emotion.Rachael JackBritish Academy (BRIT-ACAD)SG113332PSY - PSYCHOLOGY