Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 363-368

First online:

More evidence for the universality of a contempt expression

  • David MatsumotoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, San Francisco State University

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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.