Experiencing and Expressing Emotions

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Aniesha Johnson
February 3, 2011
Ch. 4

Experiencing and Expressing Emotions

In the chapter, emotion is described as the powerful nature of an emotional experience and how we break it down. There are six primary emotions, surprise, joy, disgust, anger, fear, and sadness. They are identified through unique and consistent behavioral displays across cultures. However, every culture has different impressions of what the primary emotions in their culture are. While Americans consistently name surprise, joy, love, anger, fear, and sadness as primary emotions, Chinese view primary emotions as shame and sad love, an attachment to former lovers. Hindu philosophy suggests there are nine primary emotions. Out of all these emotions, I am surprised disgust and shames are not among the primary. Shame is considered a key emotion in some non-Western cultures, but it is less likely to be considered a primary emotion in many Western cultures. Different situations evoke different emotions in different cultures too, such as; a pork chop served for dinner might bring on disgust in the majority of people in Saudi Arabia, while it is likely to bring sheer happiness in many people in the United States. I feel shame and disgust a lot, of course it also states in the book that disgust is a blended emotion.

I did a little research and people in different cultures categorize emotions differently. Some languages have labels for emotions that are not labeled in other languages. For example, Tahitians do not have a word for sadness. Germans have a word, schadenfreude, meaning joy at someone else’s misfortune. I have never even heard of this before, nor could I live my life under that statement.

Nonverbal expressions of emotion differ across cultures, due partly to the fact that different cultures have different display rules. As kids, we are taught guidelines for whether, which, how, and when emotions should be displayed. For example, In the United States, male friends usually...
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