The Expression of Anger Across Cultures



In this chapter, we argue that angry facial expressions have roots in our evolutionary histories and are probably genetically coded for all humans, resulting in biologically based universality in the expression and recognition of anger. At the same time, all humans live in cultures, and cultures endorse the modification of universal angry expressions. These modifications can lead to both culturally based universality as well as cultural differences in angry expressions. We argue that one of the main functions of culture is to calibrate emotional responding to culturally relevant situations, in order to maintain social order and prevent social chaos. We also present data that suggest that cultural differences in anger expression management, via mechanisms known as display rules, are associated with anger recognition accuracy rates on the cultural level. Biologically based emotions, therefore, interact with culture to produce rich and textured behavioral repertoires driven by emotion impulses.


Emotional Expression Basic Emotion Anger Expression Individualistic Culture Display Rule 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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