, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 363-368

More evidence for the universality of a contempt expression

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Since its publication in 1986, Ekman and Friesen's (1986) discovery of a universal facial expression unique to contempt has received considerable attention (e.g., see Ekman & Friesen, 1988; Ekman & Heider, 1988; Ekman, O'Sullivan, & Matsumoto, 1991a, 1991b; Izard & Haynes, 1988; Russell, 1991a, 1991b; Ricci Bitti, Brighetti, Garotti, Boggi-Cavallo, 1989). Actually, much of this argument began before there was adequate sampling of contempt photographs across many cultures. In order to address this concern, this study reports judgment data on all 12 photos used in previous studies depicting the contempt expression from four non-American cultures. The data provide a strong replication of Ekman and Friesen's (1986) and Ekman and Heider's (1988) findings for a universal expression of contempt.

The research reported in this article was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH 42749-01), and by a Faculty Award for Creativity, Scholarship, and Research from San Francisco State University. I would like to thank Veronica Ton for her aid in the collection of the Vietnamese data; Valerie Hearn for her aid in the collection of the Polish and Hungarian data; Masami Kobayashi, Fazilet Kasri, Deborah Krupp, Bill Roberts, and Michelle Weissman for their aid in my research program on emotion; and William Irwin for his aid in the data analysis.