Scientific article
Open access

Emotion Inferences from Vocal Expression Correlate Across Languages and Cultures

Published inJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, vol. 32, no. 1, p. 76-92
Publication date2001

Whereas the perception of emotion from facial expression has been extensively studied cross-culturally, little is known about judges' ability to infer emotion from vocal cues. This article reports the results from a study conducted in nine countries in Europe, the United States, and Asia on vocal emotion portrayals of anger, sadness, fear, joy, and neutral voice as produced by professional German actors. Data show an overall accuracy of 66% across all emotions and countries. Although accuracy was substantially better than chance, there were sizable differences ranging from 74% in Germany to 52% in Indonesia. However, patterns of confusion were very similar across all countries. These data suggest the existence of similar inference rules from vocal expression across cultures. Generally, accuracy decreased with increasing language dissimilarity from German in spite of the use of language-free speech samples. It is concluded that culture- and language-specific paralinguistic patterns may influence the decoding process.

  • Inferences
  • Vocal expression
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
SCHERER, Klaus R., BANSE, Rainer, WALLBOTT, Harald G. Emotion Inferences from Vocal Expression Correlate Across Languages and Cultures. In: Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 2001, vol. 32, n° 1, p. 76–92. doi: 10.1177/0022022101032001009
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0022-0221

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