Date Thesis Awarded

4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Joanna Schug

Committee Member

Ann Bunger

Committee Member

Silvia Tandeciarz

Abstract

Abstract

This research analyzed facial mimicry responses in two groups of Spanish-English bilinguals: bilinguals for whom Spanish was the first language learned (L1) and bilinguals for whom English was the L1. Prior research suggested that Spanish-English bilinguals experience emotion differently, but no research to date had examined if exposed to language primes, Spanish-English bilingual participants would mimic facial expressions differently depending on when each language was learned. The results showed that Spanish L1 bilinguals were overall more emotionally expressive, and Spanish L1 bilinguals were more likely to mimic facial expressions when stimuli were primed with English. Additional findings from the study showed that Spanish L1 bilinguals were more likely to mimic happiness in English primed expressions, while English L1 bilinguals were more likely to mimic surprise. Spanish L1 bilinguals were more likely to mimic anger in the English prime, and English L1 bilinguals were more likely to mimic anger in the Spanish prime. The results are analyzed in the context of how culture shapes appropriateness of displaying emotional expressions, and future directions are discussed.

Keywords: Bilinguals; Language; Facial Mimicry; Spanish; English; Emotion

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