Development of cultural differences in emotion perception from face and voice

[Speaker] Kawahara, Misako:1
[Co-author] Sauter, Disa:2, Tanaka, Akihiro:1
1:Tokyo Woman's Christian University (Japan), 2:University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Recent studies have demonstrated that multisensory emotion perception is modulated by culture. Tanaka et al. (2010) showed that Japanese people are more tuned than Dutch people to vocal processing in adults. The current study investigated how such a cultural difference develops in children aged 5-12 years. In the experiment, a face and a voice, expressing either congruent or incongruent emotions, were presented simultaneously on each trial. Participants judged whether the person is happy or angry. Results showed that the rate of vocal responses was higher in Japanese than Dutch in adults, especially when in-group speakers expressed a happy face with an angry voice. The rate of vocal responses was low in both Japanese and Dutch 5-6-year-olds, while it increased over age only in Japanese people. These results suggest that combinations of facial and vocal emotions have specific meanings and that culture-specific multisensory display rules are acquired with age in childhood.
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