Influences: (No more emotion left to express)
In interacting with others, we learn to categorize and experience emotions in certain ways. People in different cultures acquire different emotions.
For example, people in many Western contexts may think of shame as a bad emotion. But shame is considered a good emotion in other cultures—it is in one category with modesty and embarrassment and these feelings show that you have propriety, that you know your place in the world. Having an emotion like shame when you don't behave in ways that fit the cultural norm is considered a good way of doing something about it. In our Western cultures, shame is often associated with behaviors that are destructive for the relationship: We withdraw in shame, we don't want to show ourselves.
It develops in a different way and has different consequences for relationships and behavior. Rather, the whole phenomenon of the emotion is different across cultures.
Your question supposes that there is first the emotion and then culture. Experience is a combination of your previous experiences, expectations, knowledge and what is happening in the moment. When we talk about shame in Japan or in the U. But then, shame has a different follow-up, a different feel. This idea that emotions are within you and are insulated from culture is itself a Western cultural idea. There are certainly elements in the experience of emotions that are recognized across cultures—either types of situations or types of meanings that are similar in different cultural contexts.
Emotions are responses of the brain and the body. Universally, we have a body that responds to what happens in the context, but that in itself is not an emotion. We also all have a social context that affords certain ways of being a person with others. Universally, emotions emerge from interactions with others, and those interactions always happen within the framework of a culture. But from there on, things are different between cultures.
Almost everything about emotions is cultural: what we call them, how we think about them, how we regulate them. We learn about emotions from observation, but also from how others respond to us when we have certain emotions. We learn prescriptive norms that include rules about when to have what emotions. But social learning continues in adulthood. Everybody who has lived in different cultures has had culture shock. After a while, you slowly come to expect the emotions of the other culture. You become less sure about your emotions being the default. Over time, when people interact with enough people from another culture and get feedback from them, their emotions acculturate.
This is a slow process. Having experiences with the emotions of other cultures can help you to articulate the nuances of your own emotions. Philosopher Owen Flanagan says that learning about the philosophies of different cultures gives you options. You do emotions together with other people—emotions are a way of being a person in the social world. But knowing alternative ways of having emotions gives you perspectives on your own emotions.
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Sometimes, it also provides you with a different understanding of your emotions. For example, shame in itself is not so unbearable that we have to turn it into anger.
Emotions and culture
Many studies using facial expressions now provide direct and indirect evidence for visual discriminations of affective stimuli in the absence of visual awareness of the stimulus. Clinically blind hemianopic patients have shown on forced choice tasks that they can reliably guess the emotion not only of facial but also of bodily expressions presented in their blind field  , .
Masking is one of the most widely used techniques for exploring unconscious processing of visual emotional information in neurologically intact observers. We have recently shown in a parametric masking study that the detection of fearful bodily expressions covaries less with visual awareness than the detection of other bodily expressions . The special status of fear stimuli is still a matter of debate, specifically in relation to the role of the amygdale  , .
Here our goal was to address whether affective information from voices influences the affective information from bodily expression independently of visual awareness. First, we investigated the influence of the perception of emotional voices on the recognition performance of emotional body expressions under conditions of visual uncertainty, and subsequently we investigated whether unseen bodily expressions affect the recognition of the prosody in the perceived voice.
In this experiment a mask was presented at 12 different latencies after or before the onset of the target Stimulus Onset Asynchrony, SOA , which were angry or happy bodily expressions. The participants were instructed to categorize bodily expressions which were congruently or incongruently paired with emotional voices and subsequently to indicate whether they were sure of their answer or whether they were guessing.
Importantly, instructions specified they had to ignore the voice. See Figure 1 for a schematic representation of a trial and for examples of the stimuli. An example trial left , an example of an angry and happy bodily posture upper right , the mask below right. Percentage correct categorized bodily expressions were corrected for chance level which was 50 percent.
To assess whether participants could differentiate between the correct and incorrect answers confidence ratings were calculated. The number of sure responses when the categorization of the emotional expression was incorrect was subtracted from the number of sure responses when the response was correct.
Emotional Voice and Emotional Body Postures Influence Each Other Independently of Visual Awareness
This was divided by the total number of correct and incorrect answers. A resulting value of zero would mean that the participants indicate subjectively that they are not more confident of their correct answers then their incorrect answers which is taken as a measure of subjective visual awareness.
This method automatically controls for how well the participants are engaged in the task. If, for example, a participant would just randomly categorize the emotion, but always indicates to be sure, the confidence measure would end up being percent while the accuracy would be around zero after correction of chance level.
However, our measure of confidence would also result in a confidence rating of zero, because it automatically corrects for when the participants indicate to be sure, while their answer is wrong. Two participants were discarded from analysis because they performed well below 50 percent in categorizing the angry and happy bodily expression in the validation study The correct identifications were on such a low level that there is a possibility that the two participants did not understand the instruction clearly, for example they confused the order of the response buttons.
How feelings took over the world
The validation study showed that the angry bodily emotion was correctly identified Two GLM repeated measures analyses with emotion 2 levels , congruency 2 levels and SOA latency 13 levels as factors were performed on the categorization performance and confidence ratings. There was a main effect of SOA latency and congruency on accuracy, resp. Also, a main effect of SOA latency and congruency were observed on the confidence ratings, resp. Bonferroni corrected pairwise comparisons showed that the longer the SOA latency the higher the categorization performance and confidence ratings, e.
For the confidence ratings this was also true. In addition the comparisons between incongruent and congruent body-voice pairs showed that the categorization performance and confidence ratings were higher when the emotion was congruent. The specific emotion did not have a main effect on the accuracy or confidence ratings nor did it interact with the other factors.
Figure 2 shows the accuracy and the confidence of the participants averaged over the two emotions.
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Left : Mean categorization performance plotted as function of SOA latency corrected for chance 50 percent. Right : Mean confidence ratings plotted as function of SOA latency. Error bars represent standard error of the mean. To investigate this interaction post hoc comparisons were done between congruent and incongruent trials on the confidence ratings per SOA latency. The results show that when emotional voices and body postures are congruent objective recognition of emotional body expressions is aided regardless of SOA latency.
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This same effect is not seen in subjective confidence ratings where there is no facilitation effect of congruent voice information for short SOA latencies. Conjointly, the confidence of the participants was not above zero in this range while the accuracy when the emotional voice-body pairs were congruent was above chance. The subjective ratings can be taken as measure of the phenomenological experience of the participants' perception of the targets  , .
The combination of these findings shows that the emotion of the voice exerts its influence independently of the visual awareness of the target. Also, the lack of the interaction between congruency and SOA latency in accuracy shows that these results do not reflect merely a decision or response bias . Such a bias would be stronger when visibility of the target is low and would thus result in an interaction of congruency and SOA latency on the categorization performance of the participants.
In other words, this method shows to be a very good control to check whether such a bias is present in the data set. While this study shows that visual awareness is not necessary for the multisensory integration to occur the participants were in fact, capable of detecting the bodily expressions in the majority of the trials because this concerns a parametric masking study.
In other words, they were aware that bodily expressions were presented while ignoring the human emotional vocalizations. In a second study we therefore isolated one SOA condition in order to ensure that the participants would not perceive bodily expressions throughout the whole experiment while judging the emotion of spoken sentences.
The Two-Factor Theory of Emotion
If we would observe similar effects on the judgment of emotional prosody because of the influence of unseen bodily expressions this would strengthen the conclusion that bodily expressions and emotional voices influence each other independently of visual awareness. In the first experiment the influence of the emotion in the voice and its dependency on visual awareness was the focus of interest.
In this second experiment we asked whether bodily expressions when presented outside visual awareness can influence the recognition of prosody in spoken words. While in the first experiment the visibility of the bodily expressions was parametrically varied we held the SOA latency constant 33 ms in this experiment.
Participants had to focus on the voice component of the stimulus which consisted of different levels of emotion on a 7-step continuum between fearful and happy. They were instructed to categorize the emotion in the voice clip. Visual catch trials were introduced to make sure that the participants were looking at the computer screen where masked bodily expressions were presented.
Our extensive semi-structured exit interview and our sensitive post test assessed whether the participants had been aware of the emotional body pictures. See Figure 3 for a schematic representation of a trial and examples of the stimuli. An example of a trial of experiment 2 left , an example of a fearful bodily expression and a neutral action upper right and the mask below right. Seven out of thirty-two participants were excluded from analysis because their score was higher than.
See the method section how the score was begin threshold. These participants also indicated in the exit interview having seen several body stimuli. In the validation session the fearful bodily expressions were correctly identified in The no-body masked condition was used as baseline.