Who Emphasizes Positivity? An Exploration of Emotion Values in People of Latino, Asian, and European Heritage Living in the United States

Nicole Senft, Belinda Campos, Michelle N. Shiota, Yulia E. Chentsova-Dutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Emotion values vary within and between individualistic and collectivistic cultural contexts. The form of collectivism prevalent in Latin America emphasizes simpatía, a cultural model that stresses the relational benefits of positivity but also the costs of negativity. This model was predicted to engender a pattern of emotion values distinct from that of the more commonly studied collectivist group, people of Asian heritage (PAH), among whom an emphasis on moderating positive and negative emotions is typically observed, and from people of European heritage (PEH), among whom authenticity in emotions is typically valued. College students of Latino (n = 659), Asian (n = 446), and European (n = 456) heritage living in the United States completed a study examining positive and negative emotion values. Mixed-model analysis of variance that included interactions among culture, emotion valence (positive, negative), value type (desirability, appropriateness), and response type (experience, expression) suggested distinct patterns of emotion values across groups. People of Latino heritage (PLH) rated positive emotions as more desirable and appropriate to experience and express than PAH (ps < .001) but less desirable and appropriate to experience and express than PEH (ps ≤ .001). PLH also rated negative emotions as more undesirable (ps < .001) but similarly inappropriate to experience and express (ps > .05) compared with PAH and as similarly undesirable (ps > .05) but more inappropriate to experience (p < .001) compared with PEH. The emotion-value pattern that emerged was largely consistent with simpatía for PLH and provides new evidence of similarity and variation in emotion values in three distinct contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEmotion
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Emotion
  • Emotion values
  • Latino
  • Simpatía

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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