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Effects of Racial Background and Sex on Identifying Facial Expressions and Person Perception
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by Shann E. Sagles, Sharon Coley, Germilina Espiritu, Patricia Zahregian, and Richard Velayo - Pace University
This study investigated the ability to accurately identify facial expressions of emotions of people of varying racial background: Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White. Through the use of a Person Perception Questionnaire and a Pictorial Test, 151 participants identified facial expressions of anger, disgust, fear, and sadness based as a function of the target individual's racial background and sex. Results indicated that for the emotions of anger, disgust, and sadness, there were significant interactions based on the individual's target race and sex. In addition, there were significant findings for the emotions of anger and fear identified in the White target individuals compared to the target individual typifying other races. We also found significant differences in the way women were perceived, compared to men, in social, intellectual, and favorability trait scores. These results may be applied in the areas of marketing and multicultural education to educate others concerning the differences in emotional expression across cultures.