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. 2018 Oct 31;9:1916.
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01916. eCollection 2018.

Emotion Norms, Display Rules, and Regulation in the Akan Society of Ghana: An Exploration Using Proverbs

Free PMC article

Emotion Norms, Display Rules, and Regulation in the Akan Society of Ghana: An Exploration Using Proverbs

Vivian A Dzokoto et al. Front Psychol. .
Free PMC article


Proverbs are widely used by the Akan of West Africa. The current study thematically analyzed an Akan proverb compendium for proverbs containing emotion references. Of the identified proverbs, a focus on negative emotions was most typical. Emotion-focused proverbs highlighted four emotion regulation strategies: change in cognition, response modulation, situation modification, and situation selection. A subset of proverbs addressed emotion display rules restricting the expression of emotions such as pride, and emotional contagion associated with emotions such as shame. Additional themes including: social context influences on the expression and experience of emotion; expectations of emotion limits; as well as the nature of emotions were present in the proverb collection. In general, Akan emotion-related proverbs stress individual-level responsibility for affect regulation in interpersonal interactions and societal contexts.

Keywords: Africa; culture; emotion; emotion display rules; emotion regulation.

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