Ambivalence Over Emotional Expression and Reading Emotions in Situations and Faces

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Abstract

Three studies explored the relation of ambivalence over emotional expression (AE) and emotional expressiveness (EE) to reading the emotions of others. In Study 1 (N = 340, 110 men), AE positively correlated and EE negatively correlated with self-reported confusion in reading others' emotions. In Studies 2 and 3, participants wrote descriptions of the emotions likely to be felt by a person in an emotional scenario or in a slide of a universal facial expression. Descriptions were content analyzed for emotion words. Results revealed significant AE × EE interactions. In both studies, inexpressive ambivalent individuals used emotion words of the opposite valence of that implied in the scenes or expressions. Implications for social relationships are discussed.

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