Subjective, behavioral, and physiological reactivity to ethnically matched and ethnically mismatched film clips

Nicole Roberts, Robert W. Levenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


This study examined whether individuals from 4 major ethnic groups within the United States (African American, Chinese American, European American, and Mexican American) showed greater subjective, behavioral, and physiological responses to emotional film clips (amusement, sadness, and disgust) with actors from their own ethnic group (ethnically matched) compared with actors from the other 3 ethnic groups (ethnically mismatched). Evidence showed greater responsivity to ethnically matched films for African Americans and European Americans, with the largest effect for African Americans. These findings were consistent across both sex and level of cultural identification. Findings of ethnic difference notwithstanding, there were many areas in which ethnic differences were not found (e.g., little or no evidence was found of greater response to ethnically matched films in Chinese-American or Mexican- American participants). These findings indicate that the emotional response system clearly reacts to stimuli of diverse ethnic content; however, the system is also amenable to subtle "tuning" that allows for incrementally enhanced responding to members of one's own ethnic or cultural group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-646
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006



  • Behavior
  • Emotional experience
  • Ethnicity
  • Film stimuli
  • Physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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