Facial expressions of emotions convey not only information about emotional states but also about interpersonal intentions. The present study investigated whether factors known to influence the decoding of emotional expressions—the gender and ethnicity of the stimulus person as well as the intensity of the expression—would also influence attributions of interpersonal intentions. For this, 145 men and women rated emotional facial expressions posed by both Caucasian and Japanese male and female stimulus persons on perceived dominance and affiliation. The results showed that the sex and the ethnicity of the encoder influenced observers' ratings of dominance and affiliation. For anger displays only, this influence was mediated by expectations regarding how likely it is that a particular encoder group would display anger. Further, affiliation ratings were equally influenced by low intensity and by high intensity expressions, whereas only fairly intense emotional expressions affected attributions of dominance.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Argyle, M. (1986). Rules for social relationships in four cultures. Australian Journal of Psychology, 38, 309–318.
Berry, D. S., & Brownlow, S. (1989). Were the physiognomists right? Personality correlates of facial babyishness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 15, 266–279.
Briton, N. J., & Hall, J. A. (1995). Gender-based expectancies and observer judgments of smiling. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 19, 49–65.
Brody, L. R., & Hall, J. A. (1993). Gender and emotion. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 447–460). New York: Guilford Press.
Brunel, M. L. (1989). L'empathie en counseling interculturel. SantéMental au Quebec, 14, 81–94.
Buck, R. (1984). The communication of emotion. New York: Guilford Press.
Crawford, J., Kippax, S., Onyx, J., Gault, U., & Benton, P. (1992). Emotion and gender: Constructing meaning from memory. London: Sage.
Darwin, C. (1872/1965). The expression of the emotions in man and animals. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. (Originally published, 1872.)
Ekman, P. (1982). Emotion in the human face, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1971). Constants across cultures in the face and emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 17(2), 124–129.
Fischer, A. (1993). Sex differences in emotionality: Fact or Stereotype? Feminism & Psychology, 3, 303–318.
Frijda, N. (1986). The emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Frijda, N. H., Kuipers, P., & ter Shure, E. (1989). Relations among emotion appraisal and emotional action readiness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 212–228.
Frijda, N. H., & Mesquita, B. (1994). The social roles and functions of emotions. In S. Kitayama & H. R. Markus (Eds.), Emotion and Culture (pp. 51–87). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Hall, C. C. I. (1997). Cultural malpractice: The growing obsolescence of psychology with the changing U.S. population. American Psychologist, 52, 642–651.
Hess, U., Blairy, S., & Kleck, R. E. (1997). The relationship between the intensity of emotional facial expressions and observers' decoding. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 21, 241–257.
Hess, U. & Kirouac, G., Emotion expression in Groups (in press). In M. Lewis & J. Haviland-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of emotion, 2nd edition. Guilford Press.
Hochschild, A. (1983). The managed heart. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Keating, C. F. (1985). Human dominance signals: The primate in us. In S. L. Ellyson & J. F. Dovidio (Ed.), Power, dominance, and nonverbal communication (pp. 89–108). New York: Springer Verlag.
Keating, C. F., & Bai, D. L. (1986). Children's attributions of social dominance from facial cues. Child Development, 57, 1269–1276.
Kirouac, G. & Hess, U. (1999). Group membership and the decoding of nonverbal behavior. In P. Philippot, R. Feldman, & E. Coats (Eds.), The social context of nonverbal behavior (pp. 182–210). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Knudson, B. (1996). Facial expressions of emotion influence interpersonal trait inferences. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 20, 165–182.
Matsumoto, D., & Ekman, P. (1988). Japanese and Caucasian facial expressions of emotion (JACFEE) and neutral faces (JACNeuf). San Francisco: San Francisco State University.
Motley, M. T., & Camden, C. T. (1988). Facial expression of emotion: A comparison of posed expressions versus spontaneous expressions in an interpersonal communications setting. Western Journal of Speech Communication, 52, 1–22.
Pittam, J., Gallois, C., Iwawaki, S., & Kroonenberg, P. (1995). Australian and Japanese concepts of expressive behavior. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 26, 451–473.
Russell, J. A. (1994). Is there universal recognition of emotion from facial expression? A review of the cross-cultural studies. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 102–141.
Russell, J. A. (1995). Facial expressions of emotion: What lies beyond minimal universality? Psychological Bulletin, 118, 379–391.
Saarni, C. & Weber, H. (1999). Emotional Displays and dissemblance in childhood: Implications for self-presentation. In P. Philippot, R. Feldman, & E. Coats (Eds.), The social context of nonverbal behavior (pp. 71–105). Cambridge University Press
Shields, A. S. (1987). Women, men, and the dilemma of emotion. In P. Shaver & C. Hendrick (Eds.), Sex and Gender. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Tabachnick, B.G. & Fidell, L.S. (1996). Using multivariate statistics, 3rd ed. New York: Harper-Collins.
Wiggins, J. S., Trapnell, P., & Phillips, N. (1988). Psychometric and geometric characteristics of the Revised Interpersonal Adjective Scales (IAS-R). Multivariate Behavioral Research, 23, 517–530.
About this article
Cite this article
Hess, U., Blairy, S. & Kleck, R.E. The Influence of Facial Emotion Displays, Gender, and Ethnicity on Judgments of Dominance and Affiliation. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 24, 265–283 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1006623213355
- facial emotion displays