The nonverbal expression of pride: evidence for cross-cultural recognition

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 Mar;94(3):516-30. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.94.3.516.


The present research tests whether recognition for the nonverbal expression of pride generalizes across cultures. Study 1 provided the first evidence for cross-cultural recognition of pride, demonstrating that the expression generalizes across Italy and the United States. Study 2 found that the pride expression generalizes beyond Western cultures; individuals from a preliterate, highly isolated tribe in Burkina Faso, West Africa, reliably recognized pride, regardless of whether it was displayed by African or American targets. These Burkinabe participants were unlikely to have learned the pride expression through cross-cultural transmission, so their recognition suggests that pride may be a human universal. Studies 3 and 4 used drawn figures to systematically manipulate the ethnicity and gender of targets showing the expression, and demonstrated that pride recognition generalizes across male and female targets of African, Asian, and Caucasian descent. Discussion focuses on the implications of the findings for the universality of the pride expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology
  • Africa, Western
  • Aged
  • Anger / physiology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Ethnicity / psychology
  • Facial Expression*
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Happiness
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nonverbal Communication / psychology*
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Self Concept
  • Shame
  • Social Behavior*
  • Students
  • United States