, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 21-36
Date: 01 Mar 2006

Learning in emotion judgments: Training and the cross-cultural understanding of facial expressions

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This preliminary study presents data on training to improve the accuracy of judging facial expressions of emotion, a core component of emotional intelligence. Feedback following judgments of angry, fearful, sad, and surprised states indicated the correct answers as well as difficulty level of stimuli. Improvement was greater for emotional expressions originating from a cultural group more distant from participants’ own family background, for which feedback likely provides greater novel information. These results suggest that training via feedback can improve emotion perception skill. Thus, the current study also provides suggestive evidence for cultural learning in emotion, for which previous research has been cross-sectional and subject to selection biases.

Hillary Anger Elfenbein is affiliated with Organizational Behavior and Industrial Relations, University of California, Berkeley, CA.
This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Behavioral Science Track Award for Rapid Transition 1R03MH071294-1. I thank Howard Friedman, Ursula Hess, Abigail Marsh, and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, and Ken Coelho and Cindy Lau for research assistance.