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The role of affective information in context on the judgment of facial expression: in what situations are North Americans influenced by contextual information? Open Access


Other title
Contextual influence
Facial expressions
Cross-cultural comparison
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ito, Kenichi
Supervisor and department
Masuda, Takahioko (Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Noels, Kimberly (Psychology)
Nicholadis, Elena (Psychology)
Kabata, Kaori (East Asian Study)
Department of Psychology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Research in cultural psychology suggests that East Asians are more likely than North Americans to be sensitive to contextual information. By contrast, much evidence suggests that even North Americans’ judgments are influenced by affective priming information, the effect of which can be seen as another type of contextual cue. However, the magnitude of such priming effect has not been tested in a cross-cultural context. Using the methodology of the affective priming paradigm, we conducted two studies, in which we manipulated (a) the timing of priming information (simultaneous vs. sequential) and (b) the type of affective information (background landscape vs. background human figures), in which European Canadians and Japanese judged either happy or sad facial expressions in the focal area of the scene. The results indicate that the two cultural groups are similar when contextual information is salient, but only Japanese remain sensitive to context with subtle cues.
License granted by Kenichi Ito ( on 2010-08-11T17:05:52Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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