What is it about?

Participants were better able to recognise emotions when visual cues are available. First and foreign language users of English recognised the emotions equally well in the audio-visual condition but the foreign language users did less well in the audio-only condition. Participants with higher proficiency scores did better, particularly in the audio-only condition. Asian foreign language users of English had the lowest scores.

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Why is it important?

Not everybody recognises emotions equally well.


It is easy to underestimate the difficulty in recognising what a person is feeling if that person uses a foreign language and is from a very different cultural background.

Jean-Marc Dewaele
Birkbeck University of London

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This page is a summary of: Emotion recognition ability across different modalities: The role of language status (L1/LX), proficiency and cultural background, Applied Linguistics Review, March 2020, De Gruyter,
DOI: 10.1515/applirev-2017-0015.
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