Chapter 12: Pride – A Positive Self-Conscious Emotion

Self-Conscious Emotions: Are They Universal?

Behavior Changes

In this section, we will review an interesting study that sought to determine whether bodily changes of pride and shame are universal. Tracy and Matsumoto (2008) recruited three groups of participants from the judo matches at the Olympics and ParaOlympics: sighted individuals, congenitally blind individuals, and late-onset blind individuals. It is important to note that the sighted and late-onset participants are those who could have learned to express bodily changes for self-conscious emotions by watching other people. Congenitally blind participants, who have never been able to see, would be less likely to have learned which bodily changes accompany self-conscious emotions. Thus, if congenitally blind participants show the same bodily changes as the other two groups, this would provide evidence that these body and facial changes are innate and universal.

Quasi-IV #1: Participants Groups: Sighted vs. Congenitally Blind vs. Late-Onset Blindness

 

Quasi-IV #2: Whether participants won or lost the ParaOlympics event.

 

Dimensional Variable: Collectivism-Individualism of 37 Countries

 

DV #1: On a 0 to 5 scale, researchers coded the intensity of shame and pride behavior changes.

Pride Behavior Changes included:

  • Head-Tilt Back
  • Smile
  • Arms Out
  • Fists
  • Chest Expanded
  • Torso Out

 

Shame Behavior Changes included:

  • Chest Narrowed
  • Shoulders Slumped

Figure 15 displays the findings for sighted individuals and Figure 16 displays the findings for congenitally blind individuals. Sighted individuals who won their event displayed greater intensity for the 6 pride behavior changes compared to sighted individuals who lost. Sighted individuals who lost displayed more intense chest narrowed and shoulders slumped compared to sighted individuals who won. Taken together, these findings suggested sighted individuals who won expressed pride behaviors, while sighted individuals who lost expressed shame behaviors.

Figure 16
Pride and Shame Behavior Changes for Sighted Individuals
A bar graph. each item on the x axis has a bar graphed for win (white), and loss (black). The y axis measures intensity coded on a 0 to 5 scale. The x axis items are: head-tilt, smile, arms out, arms raised, fists, chest expanded, torso out, chest narrowed, shoulders slumped.

Reproduced from “The spontaneous expression of pride and shame: Evidence for biologically innate nonverbal displays” by J.L. Tracy and D. Matsumoto, 2008. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(33), p. 11656 ( https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0802686105) Open Access, PNAS.

 

Congenitally blind individuals who won showed more intensity for the following 4 pride expressions: 1) arms raised, 2) fists, 3) chest expanded, and 4) torso out. Congenitally blind individuals who won or lost did not show differences in the following 3 pride expressions: 1) head-tilt back, 2) smile, and 3) arms out. These findings suggest that four of the pride expressions are universal, while the other three expressions are not. Congenitally blind individuals who lost showed greater intensity of chest narrowed and shoulders slumped, confirming that these shame expressions may be universal.

Figure 17
Pride and Shame Behavior Changes for Congenitally Blind Individuals
A bar graph. each item on the x axis has a bar graphed for win (white), and loss (black). The y axis measures intensity coded on a 0 to 5 scale. The x axis items are: head-tilt, smile, arms out, arms raised, fists, chest expanded, torso out, chest narrowed, shoulders slumped.

Reproduced from “The spontaneous expression of pride and shame: Evidence for biologically innate nonverbal displays” by J.L. Tracy and D. Matsumoto, 2008. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(33), p. 11657 ( https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0802686105) Open Access, PNAS.

 

 

In this study, individualism-collectivism moderated the relationship of loss/win on shame facial expressions. This moderation means that individuals from collectivist cultures showed greater shame bodily changes after winning. Individualism-collectivism did not moderate the effect of winning on pride behavior changes. In general, this study shows that some behavior changes are universal and some are not. One limitation is that there might be ways that congenitally blind participants could learn about the behavior changes typical for shame and pride, which would contradict basic emotion theory. Interestingly, congenitally blind participants (versus late-onset blind participants) showed greater intensity of expression for both shame behaviors. In other words, congenitally blind participants slumped their shoulders more and narrowed their chest more. This seems to contradict basic emotion theory. Why do you think congenitally blind individuals expressed more shame?

One last study (Elfenbein et al., 2007) evaluated shame and embarrassment facial expressions for participants living in Quebec versus Gabon. Quebec and Gabon are both French-speaking regions and were once French colonies, so they may hold some similarities. In this study, both participant groups were given a list of 10 emotion words and instructed to pose each emotion on their face like they were expressing this emotion to a friend. In addition, participants were given a mirror to make the facial expression! Then, researchers coded the action units displayed by participants. Results show that individuals living in Quebec and Gabon both posed the same action units for embarrassment Cultural differences were found for the shame expression. Individuals from Gabon showed changes in only AU54 (head down) or a combination of AU32 (lip bite) and AU54, while Quebecois showed changes in AU 4 (brow lowerer) and AU 14 (dimpler). Examples of the shame expressions are shown in Figure 17. What emotion do you think is displayed on the face of the Quebec individual in the figure below?

Figure 18
Examples of Shame Expressions for Gabonese (left and right) and Quebecois (middle)
an image of three people with different facial expressions and AU's. AU 32+52 (left). AU 4+14 (middle). AU 54 (right).
Reproduced from “Toward a dialect theory: Cultural differences in the expression and recognition of posed facial expressions,” by H.A. Elfenbein, M. Beaupré, M. Lévesque, and U. Hess, 2007, Emotion, 7(1), p. 137 (https://doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.7.1.131) Copyright 2007 by the American Psychological Association.

Stipek (1998) investigated how subjective feelings of pride and shame differ for Americans as compared to Chinese. Compared to American participants, Chinese participants reported more arousal for their close others’ achievement and transgression. In addition, Chinese participants reported more shame feelings elicited by family members (compared to Americans). These findings suggest that for collectivist cultures, our close others’ successes and failures are closely tied to our self-concept, such that when our close others succeed or fail we perceive that this is a reflection of the self.

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