Tuesday, 16 July 2024 20:35

Immigration Influx Leads to Better Understanding of Nonverbal Expressions: Study

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Multicultural areas, particularly those without a shared language, tend to produce more individuals who efficiently rely on nonverbal expression of emotions to gauge what others are thinking.

Scientists behind new research on nonverbal communication claim that inhabitants from multicultural communities and nations, with immigrant populations, are better able to read the facial expressions and emotions than those who live in insular nations.

University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology Professor Paula Niedenthal led the research that resulted in a report titled "Social Functionality of Human Emotion" and a study that was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Facial expression, vicarious emotion, group emotion, group-based emotion and embodied simulation were the bases of the research which iterated that those who live in nations that are comprised of immigrants who do not share a common language or culture rely on nonverbal cues. However, the hypothesis does not apply to countries that are newly multicultural, because shaping the skills to interpret emotions must develop over some time. Also, the number of nations where immigrants arrived from doesn't make much difference.

"We think an absence of shared language and shared culture would push people toward greater nonverbal expression of emotion," Niedenthal said in a statement.

"Because otherwise you wouldn't know what the other person was feeling or thinking or liking or disliking. And you need to be able to communicate those things to facilitate commerce and government, to survive and prosper together."

Brazil, Canada, Australia, Uruguay and United States are among the nations that have high level of "historical heterogeneity," while Japan, Poland, Greece and Nigeria are far more homogeneous. The two sets of nations differ greatly when it comes to interpreting emotions because homogeny, due to a lack of migration and immigrant influx, breeds ignorance.

"So many places other than the United States have a long history of migration -- many in South America, places like Israel -- and that creates an idea about who should be similar or dissimilar that isn't one we currently look at," Niedenthal said.

"The dominant way to think about culture right now in industry and organizational settings and academia is the notion of collectivism versus individualism, and that's basically West versus East."

At core of the study, being able to communicate what's good or bad is the most essential part of creating and preserving social bonds. The ability to understand a group's expressions correlates to empathy. And discerning expression is a matter of history, shared experience and multicultural nature. Additionally, researchers revealed that there are just three universal smiles (reward, affiliation and dominance), despite "migratory makeup, relative individualism, residential mobility or ethnic fractionalization," and discerning frequency or type of smile is easier in multicultural environments with immigrant communities.

Source: Latin Post

Google+ Google+