Interpreting Foreign Smiles: Language Context and Type of Scale in the Assessment of Perceived Happiness and Sadness
Duñabeitia, Jon Andoni
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Frances, C., Pueyo, S., Anaya, V., & Duñabeitia, J. (2020). Interpreting Foreign Smiles: Language Context and Type of Scale in the Assessment of Perceived Happiness and Sadness, Psicológica Journal, 41(1), 21-38. doi: https://doi.org/10.2478/psicolj-2020-0002
The current study focuses on how different scales with varying demands can affect our subjective assessments. We carried out 2 experiments in which we asked participants to rate how happy or sad morphed images of faces looked. The two extremes were the original happy and original sad faces with 4 morphs in between. We manipulated language of the task—namely, half of the participants carried it out in their native language, Spanish, and the other half in their foreign language, English—and type of scale. Within type of scale, we compared verbal and brightness scales. We found that, while language did not have an effect on the assessment, type of scale did. The brightness scale led to overall higher ratings, i.e., assessing all faces as somewhat happier. This provides a limitation on the foreign language effect, as well as evidence for the influence of the cognitive demands of a scale on emotionality assessments.