Culture, Emotion, and Expression

Culture, Emotion, and Expression

Monday, May 14, 2007

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by the Psychology Section


Speaker: David Matsumoto, San Francisco State University

Recent research concerning the influence of culture on emotion and expression, and their implications to our understanding of the relationship between emotion and culture, suggest that a universal link between emotion and expression. The source of this link most likely resides in innate, evolutionarily-based emotion programs that evolved to help humans deal with problems of social coordination that have implications for one's welfare; I call this the core emotion system. One of the functions of culture is to ascribe meaning to social situations, generating social roles and normative behaviors. Thus, one of the functions of culture is to elaborate emotions and expressions by adapting the use of the core emotion system in different situational contexts; I call this the emotion elaboration system. In this presentation I will describe these ideas in more detail, as well as its implications not only for our theoretical understanding of emotion, but also for those in applied areas whose work depends heavily on interaction, such as health practitioners, interviewers, and individuals in the legal system.