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Vocal Emotion Recognition Across Disparate Cultures

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There exists substantial cultural variation in how emotions are expressed, but there is also considerable evidence for universal properties in facial and vocal affective expressions. This is the first empirical effort examining the perception of vocal emotional expressions across cultures with little common exposure to sources of emotion stimuli, such as mass media. Shuar hunter-horticulturalists from Amazonian Ecuador were able to reliably identify happy, angry, fearful and sad vocalizations produced by American native English speakers by matching emotional spoken utterances to emotional expressions portrayed in pictured faces. The Shuar performed similarly to English speakers who heard the same utterances in a content-filtered condition. These data support the hypothesis that vocal emotional expressions of basic affective categories manifest themselves in similar ways across quite disparate cultures.

Affiliations: 1: FPR-UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development, UCLA, 341 Haines Hall, Box 951553, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1553, USA; Department of Communication Studies, UCLA, 2303 Rolfe Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; 2: FPR-UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development, UCLA, 341 Haines Hall, Box 951553, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1553, USA; Department of Anthropology, Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture, UCLA, 341 Haines Hall, Box 951553, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1553, USA

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