Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 91–104 | Cite as

Scalar Ratings Of Contempt Expressions

  • David MatsumotoEmail author


This article reports two studies examining the recognition of unilateral lip raise and tighten expressions as contempt using scalar ratings on multiple emotion categories. Study 1 demonstrated that American and Japanese observers see these expressions as contempt, that the Japanese had significantly higher recognition rates, and that this difference occurred because Americans gave the anger and disgust labels higher ratings than did the Japanese. Study 2 replicated the finding that Americans see the contempt expressions as contempt, and did so regardless of whether they rated the external display of the expression or made an attribution about the internal experience of the expressor. This study is the first to show that native English speakers judge the contempt expressions as contempt using this task, although much inconsistency in judgments of contempt remains unexplained.


contempt culture judgment scalar ratings universality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

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