How We Read Emotions from Faces
The ability to read emotions from faces is a very important skill. One might even call it a superpower. People around the world use this skill when they communicate with each other. But do people from different cultural backgrounds recognize and interpret facial expressions the same way? The answer, according to scientists, is both yes and no. Yes, because the brain system specializing in understanding faces is similar across cultures, so we all can recognize basic emotions, such as happiness or sadness, when looking at other faces. No, because culture influences how we behave and how we think, which means it also influences the rules we learn as children that tell us when and how to show our emotions. In this article, we discuss how we are able to perceive emotions from faces and how we might be reading emotions differently, depending on where we are from.