Cross-cultural decoding of positive and negative non-linguistic emotion vocalizations
Elfenbein, Hillary Anger
Iraki, Frederick K.
Thingujam, Nutankumar S.
Date of Issue2013
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
Which emotions are associated with universally recognized non-verbal signals?We address this issue by examining how reliably non-linguistic vocalizations (affect bursts) can convey emotions across cultures. Actors from India, Kenya, Singapore, and USA were instructed to produce vocalizations that would convey nine positive and nine negative emotions to listeners. The vocalizations were judged by Swedish listeners using a within-valence forced-choice procedure, where positive and negative emotions were judged in separate experiments. Results showed that listeners could recognize a wide range of positive and negative emotions with accuracy above chance. For positive emotions, we observed the highest recognition rates for relief, followed by lust, interest, serenity and positive surprise, with affection and pride receiving the lowest recognition rates. Anger, disgust, fear, sadness, and negative surprise received the highest recognition rates for negative emotions, with the lowest rates observed for guilt and shame. By way of summary, results showed that the voice can reveal both basic emotions and several positive emotions other than happiness across cultures, but self-conscious emotions such as guilt, pride, and shame seem not to be well recognized from non-linguistic vocalizations.
Frontiers in psychology
© 2013 The Authors. This paper was published in Frontiers in Psychology and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of the authors. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00353]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.