Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 3–21 | Cite as

Matsumoto and Ekman's Japanese and Caucasian Facial Expressions of Emotion (JACFEE): Reliability Data and Cross-National Differences

  • Michael Biehl
  • David Matsumoto
  • Paul Ekman
  • Valerie Hearn
  • Karl Heider
  • Tsutomu Kudoh
  • Veronica Ton


Substantial research has documented the universality of several emotional expressions. However, recent findings have demonstrated cultural differences in level of recognition and ratings of intensity. When testing cultural differences, stimulus sets must meet certain requirements. Matsumoto and Ekman's Japanese and Caucasian Facial Expressions of Emotion (JACFEE) is the only set that meets these requirements. The purpose of this study was to obtain judgment reliability data on the JACFEE, and to test for possible cross-national differences in judgments as well. Subjects from Hungary, Japan, Poland, Sumatra, United States, and Vietnam viewed the complete JACFEE photo set and judged which emotions were portrayed in the photos and rated the intensity of those expressions. Results revealed high agreement across countries in identifying the emotions portrayed in the photos, demonstrating the reliability of the JACFEE. Despite high agreement, cross-national differences were found in the exact level of agreement for photos of anger, contempt, disgust, fear, sadness, and surprise. Cross-national differences were also found in the level of intensity attributed to the photos. No systematic variation due to either preceding emotion or presentation order of the JACFEE was found. Also, we found that grouping the countries into a Western/Non-Western dichotomy was not justified according to the data. Instead, the cross-national differences are discussed in terms of possible sociopsychological variables that influence emotion judgments.


Social Psychology Facial Expression Cultural Difference Reliability Data Systematic Variation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Buck, R. (1984). The communication of emotion. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  2. Ekman, P. (1994). Strong evidence for universals in facial expressions: A reply to Russell's mistaken critique. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 268–287.Google Scholar
  3. Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. (1971). Constants across cultures in the face and emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 17, 124–129.Google Scholar
  4. Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. (1975). Unmasking the face: A guide to recognizing emotions from facial clues. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  5. Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. (1978). Facial action coding system. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  6. Ekman P., & Friesen, W. (1986). A new pancultural facial expression of emotion. Motivation and Emotion, 10, 159–168.Google Scholar
  7. Ekman, P., Friesen, W., O'Sullivan, M., Diacoyanni-Tarlatzis, I., Krause, R., Pitcairn, T., Scherer, K., Chan, A., Heider, K., LeCompte, W. A., Ricci-Bitti, P. E., Tomita, M., & Tzavaras, A. (1987). Universals and cultural differences in the judgments of facial expressions of emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 712–717.Google Scholar
  8. Ekman, P., Sorenson, E. R., & Friesen, W. (1969). Pancultural elements in facial displays of emotions. Science, 164, 86–88.Google Scholar
  9. Hofstede, G. (1980). Cultures Consequences. Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CA.Google Scholar
  10. Hofstede, G. (1983). Dimensions of natural cultures in fifty countries and three regions. In J. Deregowski, S. Dziurawiec, & R. A. Anais (Eds.), Expiscations in cross-cultural psychology. Lisse: Swets and Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  11. Izard, C. E. (1971). The face of emotion. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  12. Izard, C. (1994). Innate and universal facial expressions: Evidence from developmental and cross-country research. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 288–299.Google Scholar
  13. Izard, C. E., Haynes, O. M., Fantauzzo, C. A., Slomine, B. S. & Castle, J. M., (1993). The morphological stability and social validity of infants' facial expressions in the first nine months of life. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  14. Matsumoto, D. (1989). Cultural influences on the perception of emotion. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 20, 92–105.Google Scholar
  15. Matsumoto, D. (1990). Cultural similarities and differences in display rules. Motivation and Emotion, 14, 195–214.Google Scholar
  16. Matsumoto, D. (1992a). American-Japanese cultural differences in the recognition of universal facial expressions. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 23, 72–84.Google Scholar
  17. Matsumoto, D. (1992b). More evidence for the universality of a contempt expression. Motivation and Emotion, 16, 363–368.Google Scholar
  18. Matsumoto, D. (1994). Cultural influences on research methods and statistics. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks Cole.Google Scholar
  19. Matsumoto D. & Ekman, P. (1988). Japanese and Caucasian facial expressions of emotion (JACFEE) [Slides]. San Francisco, CA: Intercultural and Emotion Research Laboratory, Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University.Google Scholar
  20. Matsumoto, D., & Ekman, P. (1989). American-Japanese cultural differences in judgments of facial expressions of emotion. Motivation and Emotion, 13, 143–157.Google Scholar
  21. Russell, J. A. (1994). Is there universal recognition of emotion from facial expression? A review of cross-cultural studies. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 102–141.Google Scholar
  22. Russell, J. A. (1991). Negative results on a reported facial expression of contempt. Motivation and Emotion, 15, 281–291.Google Scholar
  23. Russell, J. A., & Fehr, B. (1987). Relativity in the perception of emotion in facial expressions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 116, 223–237.Google Scholar
  24. Wagner, H. L. (1993). On measuring performance in category judgments studies of nonverbal behavior. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 17(1), Spring, 3–28.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Biehl
  • David Matsumoto
    • 1
  • Paul Ekman
  • Valerie Hearn
  • Karl Heider
  • Tsutomu Kudoh
  • Veronica Ton
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySan Francisco State UniversitySan Francisco

Personalised recommendations