Influences On Emotional Expression Essay

1218 words - 5 pages

Emotions play a significant part in our daily lives, especially to our overall wellbeing whenever we share these experiences with other people. The ability to express and interpret emotions is an important skill that everyone can improve on that would greatly benefit their interpersonal communication. Our expressions accompany our emotions; they serve as windows that allow other people to know what we are feeling inside. There are several factors that influence how we communicate our feelings.
The primary explanation for the differences in how people express their emotions rests on biology. First of all, our biological sex is the best predictor of the ability to detect and interpret emotional expressions (Swenson & Casmir, 1998). Our gender can shape how receptive we are of other people’s feelings, whether that person is of the same or different sex as us. Usually, people are generally better at recognizing the emotions of the member of the same sex (Adler, Rosenfeld, Proctor, 2007). The definition of being a man or a woman is also influenced by the culture one grows up in. Typically, most boys are taught to be tough even at a young age and are even encouraged by most fathers to play roughly with other boys their age. Crying is one emotion that is greatly discouraged because it is seen as a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it is acceptable for girls since society teaches them to be gentle and nurturing. This probably explains why males are usually more aggressive and competitive than females. These also go hand in hand with the social roles of men and women in society. Our occupations can also get in the way of expressing our emotions, as we are expected to act pleasant even though we don’t really feel that way. For example, salespeople have to act friendly to customers, firefighters and police officers have to be brave. Every so often, we may show emotions that are not completely sincere because it’s what’s expected of us. We are pressured to conform to the social roles that we fall into and at the same time, we lose our ability to express certain emotions because we have continually repressed them.
There are also differences in the degree to which people in various cultures display their feelings (Aune & Aune, 1996). In other cultures, people usually don’t like showing their emotions because they need to work together and keep things harmonious with everyone. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether they are angry or pleased because they keep a neutral front. Subtle emotional expressions convey less information, requiring greater attention by the perceiver to accurately determine its valence and relevance (Gollan, Hoxha, McCloskey, Coccaro, 2010). There is research that in cultures where emotional control is the standard, such as Japan, focus is placed on the eyes to interpret emotions and in cultures where emotion is openly expressed, such as the United States, the focus is on the mouth to interpret emotion (“Culture Is Key To...

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