Emotional display rules in Palestine: Ingroup/outgroup membership, status of interaction partner and gender
This study investigates emotional display rules within the Palestinian context, focusing on the seven basic emotions in a sample of 150 college students from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Overall, participants felt that it was more appropriate to express positive emotions (happiness and surprise) than negative powerful (anger, contempt and disgust) or negative powerless (fear and sadness) emotions. They also perceived it to be more appropriate to express positive and negative powerless emotions to ingroup than outgroup members and to express negative powerful emotions to lower status compared to higher status individuals. Gender differences were also found: men endorsed greater expression of both powerful and, surprisingly, powerless emotions than women, but only when interacting with outgroup members. Results are interpreted in terms of the cultural values of individualism–collectivism and power distance as well as cultural differences in emotional expressiveness between collectivistic societies. This study is one of the first to examine emotional display rules in an Arab population, thus expanding our current knowledge base.