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Title: Smile Like You Mean It: How Race and Culture Influence Smile Perception
Authors: Lee-Elabd, Farrah
Advisors: Prentice, Deborah
Department: Psychology
Certificate Program: Center for Statistics and Machine Learning
Class Year: 2020
Abstract: Past research has shown that individuals from Collectivistic (Eastern) and Individualistic (Western) cultural backgrounds perceive smiles differently. The current research investigates the effect of culture and race on smile perception, specifically exploring how cultural and racial background affect the ability to accurately discriminate between real (Duchenne) and fake (non- Duchenne) smiles. In this study, participants were divided into 3 racial-cultural groups: White- US, Chinese-US, and Chinese-China. Participants were shown 23 photos of both White and Chinese smiles. They were asked to determine whether each smile shown was real or fake. It was hypothesized that participants from Chinese backgrounds would be better at accurately detecting smiles compared to participants from American backgrounds when race was controlled. It was additionally hypothesized that participants would perform best on smiles that matched their own race when culture was controlled. Results found that the White-US group consistently performed the best on the smile detection task for both White and Chinese smiles. The accuracy scores were also higher when the smiler was Chinese rather than when the smiler was White.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2020

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