Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When It Comes To Emotions, Eastern And Western Cultures See Things Very Differently

Date:
March 7, 2008
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
A team of researchers from Canada and Japan have uncovered some remarkable results on how eastern and western cultures assess situations very differently. The majority of Japanese participants reported that their judgments of the center person's emotions were influenced by the emotions of the background figures, while most North Americans reported they were not influenced by the background figures at all.

University of Alberta psychology professor Takahiko Masuda.
Credit: University of Alberta

A team of researchers from Canada and Japan have uncovered some remarkable results on how eastern and western cultures assess situations very differently.

Across two studies, participants viewed images, each of which consisted of one centre model and four background models in each image. The researchers manipulated the facial emotion (happy, angry, sad) in the centre or background models and asked the participants to determine the dominant emotion of the centre figure.

The majority of Japanese participants (72%) reported that their judgments of the centre person's emotions were influenced by the emotions of the background figures, while most North Americans (also 72%) reported they were not influenced by the background figures at all.

"What we found is quite interesting," says Takahiko Masuda, a Psychology professor from the University of Alberta. "Our results demonstrate that when North Americans are trying to figure out how a person is feeling, they selectively focus on that particular person's facial expression, whereas Japanese consider the emotions of the other people in the situation."

This may be because Japanese attention is not concentrated on the individual, but includes everyone in the group, says Masuda.

For the second part of the study, researchers monitored the eye movements of the participants and again the results indicated that the Japanese looked at the surrounding people more than the westerners when judging the situation.

While both the Japanese and westerners looked to the central figure during the first second of viewing the photo, the Japanese looked to the background figures at the very next second, while westerners continued to focus on the central figure.

"East Asians seem to have a more holistic pattern of attention, perceiving people in terms of the relationships to others," says Masuda. "People raised in the North American tradition often find it easy to isolate a person from its surroundings, while East Asians are accustom to read the air "kuuki wo yomu" of the situation through their cultural practices, and as a result, they think that even surrounding people's facial expressions are an informative source to understand the particular person's emotion."

These findings are published in the upcoming issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and the results are replicated in a collaborative study between Huaitang Wang and Takahiko Masuda (University of Alberta, Canada) and Keiko Ishii (Hokkaido University, Japan)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "When It Comes To Emotions, Eastern And Western Cultures See Things Very Differently." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080305120850.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2008, March 7). When It Comes To Emotions, Eastern And Western Cultures See Things Very Differently. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080305120850.htm
University of Alberta. "When It Comes To Emotions, Eastern And Western Cultures See Things Very Differently." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080305120850.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins