Emotional versus neutral expressions and perceptions of social dominance and submissiveness

Hareli, S., Shomrat, N. & Hess, U. (in press). Emotional versus neutral expressions and perceptions of social dominance and submissiveness, – Emotion

Emotional expressions influence social judgments of personality traits. The present research had the goal to show that it is of interest to assess the impact of neutral expressions in this context. In two studies using different methodologies we found that participants perceived men who expressed neutral and angry emotions as higher in dominance when compared to men expressing sadness or shame. Study 1 showed that this is also true for men expressing happiness. In contrast, women expressing either anger or happiness were perceived as higher in dominance than were women showing a neutral expression who were rated as less dominant. However, sadness expressions by both men and women clearly decreased the extent to which they were perceived as dominant, and a trend in this direction emerged for shame expressions by men in Study 2. Thus, neutral expressions seem to be perceived as a sign of dominance in men but not in women. The present findings extend our understanding of the way different emotional expressions affect perceived dominance and the signal function of neutral expressions -- which in the past have often been ignored.

(My publication)Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2009 by shareli
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