The Relationship Between Emotion Recognition from Facial Expression and Self-Construal

  • Shinnosuke Ikeda Kyoto University of Advanced Science


Previous studies have identified cultural differences in the patterns of emotion recognition, with Eastern cultures emphasizing emotional expression through the eyes and Western cultures emphasizing the facial expression around the mouth. The influence of self-construal has been considered a factor of these cultural differences, but no direct examination has been conducted to clarify how cultural factors are related to self-construal. To examine this relationship and exclude cultural influences other than relational self-construal, this study involved three experiments regarding self-construal and emotion recognition in Japanese subjects. The results showed that the participants perceive sadness more strongly through the eye region when they have a high degree of interdependence, and they perceive happiness more strongly through the mouth region when they have a high degree of independence. The results partially confirm the results of previous research and highlight that self-construal plays a role in interpreting facial cues; these findings suggest that more detailed studies and research focusing on other cultures should be conducted to clarify (1) cultural influence on self-construal and (2) cultural influence on emotion recognition.

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