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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Travel Grant Report by Xia Fang

05.10.2017, by Sibylle Classen in grant report

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Research visit at Stanford University with Prof Jeanne Tsai

Supervisor: Gerben A. Van Kleef & Disa A. Sauter
Dates of research trip: 9th January 2017- 10th March 2017

Developing insights on emotion across cultures

I started my PhD project at the University of Amsterdam on the broad topic of emotion production and perception across cultures. I am mainly interested in the facial expressions of emotion and the underlying affect across cultures. Research on the relationship between emotion and culture originates from Darwin (1872), and is still going on today. Despite there is debate concerning whether emotion is universal or culture specific, most researches agree that how emotions are experienced, expressed, and perceived varies as a function of cultural norm. Therefore culture is a necessary framework for researchers to understand variations in emotions. However, conducting cross-cultural research on emotion pose great challenges to researchers. My visiting supervisor at Stanford University Prof. Jeanne Tsai with an expertise on how culture shapes emotions, has ample experience in conducting cross-cultural research. She and her lab have done extensive research on cross-cultural comparisons on emotion. I attended the weekly culture and emotion lab meetings organized by Prof. Jeanne Tsai, and the weekly mind, culture, and society lab meetings organized by Prof. Hazel Markus. We worked together to write/revise grant proposals, discuss study design, and conduct data analysis. As a lab member, I also presented my work in the lab meetings, and got valuable feedback from other people. Besides that, I visited Prof. David Matsumoto at San Francisco State University and discussed my work with him. Overall, discussing my findings in a group of experts expanded my understanding and interpretation of my own research. This has helped me to improve the quality of my dissertation.

Personally, the overall value of this visit went far beyond my expectations. I met such nice people in in Stanford and also outside the campus. It was great hanging out with them and I am sure our ways will cross again in the future. As a student who study cultural differences, I am really impressed by the cultural diversity in California.

All in all, I had a fantastic time and I sincerely appreciate that EASP sponsored me for this research visit.