The difference in perception of a Duchenne smile and a non-Duchenne smile in terms of ethnicity and nationality.

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Previous literature revealed evidence that producing and perceiving Duchenne and non- Duchenne smiles can differ across and between various cultures and ethnicities and, as a result, can create difficulty in communication. However, other previous literature showed opposing and inconsistent results as well. Therefore, the inconsistent results concerning this topic led to the following research question: ‘What is the difference in perception of a Duchenne smile and a non-Duchenne smile between in-group members and out-group members, in terms of ethnicity and nationality?’. The research question was answered by examining the differences in perception of 125 participants of several ethnicities en nationalities towards dynamic images of Duchenne or non-Duchenne smiles produced by people of different ethnicities. Each participant from a different nationality (Dutch/American/Chinese) and ethnicity (Caucasian/African American/Asian ethnicity) saw 12 different videos (Duchenne/non- Duchenne; Caucasian/African American/Asian ethnicity; male/female). Participants had to indicate the intensity of happiness of a video, and to judge whether the smile was real or fake. The findings indicated that people rate a Duchenne smile as happier than a non-Duchenne smile and that they can tell the difference between a Duchenne smile and a non-Duchenne smile. African Americans revealed a significant in-group advantage in terms of recognition of the smile and intensity of happiness rating. The results of this study provide some evidence for the fact that people who share the same ethnicity are better at recognizing emotions from their own ethnic group. However, there effect of ethnicity was not consistent across all groups of participants. Further research into the differences across various groups of ethnicities should be conducted to further elucidate this topic.
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