Undergraduate Psychology Research Methods Journal


Emotion is one of the greatest links for human interaction. Emotion allows people from culture to culture to relate to and communicate with one another when language barriers exist. Emotional facial expressions were once thought to be culture specific, much like the emotions attached to those expressions. Research exists suggesting facial expressions across culture must be universal based on Darwin’s theories of evolution and survival (Ekman & Friesen, 1971; Hansen & Hansen, 1988; Hock, 2009; Pinkham, Griffin, Baron, Sasson, & Gur, 2010; Rosenberg & Ekman, 1993), and without some universal agreement about emotional facial expressions and their attached emotions, humans would not be able to make necessary communications for survival. Ekman and Friesen (1971) traveled the globe to find strong support for their theory of universal agreement while Hansen and Hansen (1988) and Pinkham et al. (2010) studied emotional links to survival by looking at the anger superiority effect. Ekman’s present research with TSA involves lie detection through recognition of micro-expressions of the face that are being concealed by a deceptive emotion (Seidman, 2011). Without research supporting the theory that universal facial expressions exist across culture, such applications would be useless. The present study looked for support of this theory within Lindenwood University’s diverse student population, as well as inherent survival instincts. An emotional facial expressions recognition test, anger superiority effect test, and demographic questionnaire were administered. The results indicated a universal agreement, inherent survival skills, and did not signify strong cross cultural influences.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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