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Faces of emotion: social or innate?

Faces of emotion: Social or innate?

It is common finding that, in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , females are more facially expressive than males. This advantage now appears to be importantly influenced by cultural factors and social training, since women from Taiwan and mainland China do not show more facial expressiveness than their male counterparts, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 a study reported in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City

City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S.
 this week at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association The American Psychological Association (APA) is a professional organization representing psychology in the US. Description and history
The association has around 150,000 members and an annual budget of around $70m.

At the same time, report psychologists Ross Buck and Wan-Cheng Teng of the University of Connecticut The University of Connecticut is the State of Connecticut's land-grant university. It was founded in 1881 and serves more than 27,000 students on its six campuses, including more than 9,000 graduate students in multiple programs.

UConn's main campus is in Storrs, Connecticut.
 in Storrs, there are substantial differences in facial expressiveness between subjects from Taiwan and mainland China. This suggests, in their view, that "political and social changes taking place within a few generations can profoundly affect the spontaneous emotional expressiveness of the population of a nation, with far-reaching personal and cultural consequences.'

The researchers showed emotionally loaded color slides to 44 foreign students at the University of Connecticut, 24 from Taiwan and 20 from mainland China. In addition, 20 U.S. students were shown the slides. The slides included scenes of nude males and females, pleasant landscapes, severe burns and facial injuries facial injuries, trauma to the face and its associated structures, most frequently from traffic accidents, contact sports, and domestic conflicts.
, unusual photographic effects and people familiar to the students. Unknown to the subjects, their facial and gestural responses to each slide were recorded by a hidden videocamera. Later, alter the presence of the camera was revealed and their permission to use the videotapes was granted, each subject attempted to match the appropriate slide to taped facial expressions obtained from the other students.

Among the results: Subjects from all three countries were equally likely to pick the correct slide for facial expressions of both male and female Chinese students; there was a marked advantage in choosing the correct slide for U.S. females' expressions compared with those of U.S. males; and students looking at someone of either sex with pronounced facial expressiveness could identify the appropriate slide regardless of their own cultural background (this ability, however, was stronger for females from each nationality).

The results, although tentative, are consistent with the theory that the ability to interpret spontaneous nonverbal communication nonverbal communication 'Body language', see there  is innate and universal to the human species, say the investigators.

Yet the spontaneous facial expressions of Taiwanese students were significantly more indicative of what they were viewing than were the expressions of mainland Chinese students. The greater exposure to worldwide media and emphasis on individuality in Taiwan may promote this difference between people from the same ancient Chinese List of ancient Chinese is a list of noteworthy people of ancient China. Different definitions of "ancient" China exist, but most agree that it is before the Tang dynasty. Related lists
A general listing of existing lists related to this topic.
 culture that has split along political and ideological lines, say the Connecticut researchers.

There may be other reasons for the greater expressiveness of the Taiwanese, they add. One of the experimenters was from Taiwan, and relations between Taiwan and the United States have always been cordial cordial: see liqueur. , which may have served to make Taiwanese students less defensive and inhibited in the laboratory.

It is also possible, say Buck and Teng, that female subjects in the study were more expressive than they appeared. For example, students from Taiwan and mainland China who rated the videotapes may have expected females to have negative reactions to sexual slides when, in fact, some females may have had positive, amused a·muse  
tr.v. a·mused, a·mus·ing, a·mus·es
1. To occupy in an agreeable, pleasing, or entertaining fashion.

 responses to those scenes. Thus, negative reactions by females may have been pegged inaccurately to viewing a sexual slide.

But for now, say the researchers, it appears that the ability to send spontaneous emotional messages through facial expressions is subject to social influence, while the ability to understand those messages lies outside the social realm.
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Title Annotation:research on facial expressions of students from U.S., China and Taiwan
Author:Bower, Bruce
Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 5, 1987
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