Heterogeneity of long-history migration predicts smiling, laughter and positive emotion across the globe and within the United States

Paula M. Niedenthal, Magdalena Rychlowska, Adrienne Wood, Fangyun Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)
186 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Recent findings demonstrate that heterogeneity of long-history migration predicts present-day emotion behaviors and norms. Residents of countries characterized by high ancestral diversity display emotion expressions that are easier to decode by observers, endorse norms of higher emotion expressivity, and smile more in response to certain stimuli than residents of countries that lack ancestral diversity. We build on the extant findings and investigate historical heterogeneity as a predictor of daily smiling, laughter, and positive emotion across the world’s countries and the states of the United States. Study 1 finds that historical heterogeneity is positively associated with self-reports of smiling, laughter, and positive emotions in the Gallup World Poll when controlling for GDP and present-day population diversity. Study 2 extends the findings to effects of long-history migration within the United States. We estimated the average percentage of foreign-born citizens in each state between 1850 and 2010 based on US Census information as an indicator of historical heterogeneity. Consistent with the world findings of Study 1, historical heterogeneity predicted smiling, laughter, and positive, but not negative, emotion. The relationships remained significant when controlling for per capita income and present-day population diversity of each state. Together, the findings further demonstrate the important role of long-history migration in shaping emotion cultures of countries and states, which persist beyond the original socio-ecological conditions, and open promising avenues for cross-cultural research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • smile, culture, historical heterogeneity

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