Recognizing Emotion from Postures: Cross-Cultural Differences in User Modeling

  • Andrea Kleinsmith
  • P. Ravindra De Silva
  • Nadia Bianchi-Berthouze
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3538)


The conveyance and recognition of human emotion and affective expression is influenced by many factors, including culture. Within the area of user modeling, it has become increasingly necessary to understand the role affect can play in personalizing interactive interfaces using embodied animated agents. Currently, little research focuses on the importance of emotion expression through body posture. Furthermore, little research aims at understanding cultural differences within this vein. Therefore, our goal is to evaluate whether or not differences exist in the way various cultures perceive emotion from body posture. We used images of 3D affectively expressive avatars to conduct recognition experiments with subjects from 3 cultures. The subjects’ judgments were analyzed using multivariate analysis. We grounded the identified differences into a set of low-level posture features. Our results could prove useful for constructing affective posture recognition systems in cross-cultural environments.


Affective communication affective body postures embodied animated agents intercultural differences user modeling 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Argyle, M.: Bodily Communication, 2nd edn. Methuen & Co. Ltd, New York (1988)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Coulson, M.: Attributing emotion to static body postures: recognition accuracy, confusions, and viewpoint dependence. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 28, 117–139 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ekman, P.: Emotion in the Human Face. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1982)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ekman, P.: Strong evidence for universals in facial expressions. A reply to Russell’s mistaken critique, Psychological Bulletin 115, 268–287 (1994)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ekman, P., Friesen, W.: Head and Body Cues in the Judgment of Emotion. A Reformulation, Perceptual and Motor Skills 24, 711–724 (1967)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ekman, P., Friesen, W.: Manual for the Facial Action Coding System, Palo Alto, California. Consulting Psychology Press (1978)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ekman, P., Friesen, W.: Unmasking the Face: A Guide to Recognizing Emotions from Facial Expressions. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs (1975)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Elfenbein, H.A., Mandal, M.K., Ambady, N., Harizuka, S., Kumar, S.: Cross-Cultural Patterns in Emotion Recognition. Highlighting Design and Analytical Techniques, Emotion 2(1), 75–84 (2002)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Field, A.: Discovering statistics: Using SPSS for WIndows. Sage, London (2000)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Friesen, W.: Cultural Differences in Facial Expressions in a Social Situation: An Experimental Test of the Concept of Display Rules, Doctoral dissertation. University of California, San Francisco (1972)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    de Gelder, B., Snyder, J., Greve, D., Gerard, G., Hadjikhani, N.: Fear fosters flight: A mechanism for fear contagion when perceiving emotion expressed by a whole body. In: Proc. of the National Academy of Science, vol. 101, pp. 16701–16706 (2003)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hastie, T., Tibshirabi, R.: Discriminant analysis by Gaussian mixture. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society B 58, 155–176 (1996)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Keltner, D., Ekman, P.: Expression of Emotion. In: Davidson, R., Scherer, K., Goldsmith, H. (eds.) Handbook of Affective Sciences. Oxford University Press, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Keltner, D., Ekman, P., Gonzaga, G.C., Beer, J.: Facial Expression of Emotion. In: Davidson, R., Scherer, K., Goldsmith, H. (eds.) Handbook of Affective Sciences. Oxford University Press, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kudoh, T., Matsumoto, D.: Cross-Cultural Examination of the Semantic Dimensions of Body Postures. Journ of Personality and Social Psychology 48(6), 1440–1446 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lewis, R.D.: When cultures collide: Managing successfully across cultures. Nicholas Brealey, London (1999)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mehrabian, A., Friar, J.: Encoding of Attitude by a Seated Communicator via Posture and Position Cues. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 33, 330–336 (1969)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Mesquita, B.: Emotions as Dynamic Cultural Phenomena. In: Davidson, R., Scherer, K., Goldsmith, H. (eds.) Handbook of Affective Sciences. Oxford University Press, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Paiva, A., Prada, R., Chaves, R., Vala, M., Bullock, A., Andersson, G., Hook, K.: Towards tangibility in gameplay: Building a tangible affective interface for a computer game. In: Proc. of the International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces, pp. 60–67. ACM, New York (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Picard, R.: Toward Agents that Recognize Emotion. In: Actes Proc. IMAGINA, Monaco, pp. 153–165 (March 1998)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Russell, J.A.: Is there universal recognition of emotion from facial expressions? A review of the cross-cultural studies, Psychological Bulletin 115, 102–141 (1994)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Scherer, K.R., Johnstone, T., Klasmeyer, G.: Vocal Expression of Emotion. In: Davidson, R., Scherer, K., Goldsmith, H. (eds.) Handbook of Affective Sciences. Oxford University Press, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Scherer, K.R., Wallbott, H.G., Matsumoto, D., Kudoh, T.: Emotional Experience in Cultural Context: A Comparison Between Europe, Japan, and the United States. In: Scherer, K.R. (ed.) Faces of Emotions. Erlbaum, Hillsdale (1988)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    de Silva, R., Bianchi-Berthouze, N.: Modeling human affective postures: An information theoretic characterization of posture features. Journal of Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds 15, 269–276 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Kleinsmith
    • 1
  • P. Ravindra De Silva
    • 1
  • Nadia Bianchi-Berthouze
    • 1
  1. 1.Database Systems LaboratoryUniversity of AizuAizu WakamatsuJapan

Personalised recommendations