When someone expresses their emotions, they show their passion and authentic individuality. As self-evident as it might seem, this may reflect a cultural bias, says a University of Michigan researcher.
A new study by Shinobu Kitayama and colleagues focuses on the emotional expression of Latin Americans, U.S. residents and Japanese. Specifically, the researchers tested the participants’ independence and feelings of closeness to others, also described as interdependence.
By knowing these differences, people can have a better understanding and acceptance of other cultures, said Kitayama, the Robert B. Zajonc Collegiate Professor of Psychology and professor of psychology in LSA.
“Much of the research in psychology is based on the notion that emotional expression is a display of one’s passion,” said Kitayama, who also is director of the Culture & Cognition Program at the Department of Psychology. “But this whole notion may have been deeply ingrained into what one may call a Western perspective.”