In life as on paper? The influence of emotions on personality perceptions in an interactive setting

Shlomo Hareli, Shlomo David, Michel Cossette, Ursula Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emotion expressions have been shown to influence the perception of the personality of the expresser. Thus, individuals who show anger are perceived as higher in dominance and lower in affiliation than those who show sadness; whereas smiling individuals are often perceived as high in both. However, this research has been exclusively conducted based on emotion expressions shown in still photos or short, contextless videos, or even by describing emotional reactions in vignettes. Yet, typically, emotions occur in social interactive environments. In such a case, a perceiver may hold information not only about the emotional reaction of their interaction partner but also information about the person such as their formal status. This may moderate the impression formed based on the expressed emotions. Accordingly, the present research aimed to assess the impact of emotion expression on personality judgments in a realistic interactive setting involving customer complaints.
Two-hundred forty-three men and women who assumed the role of a customer service agent in charge of complaints, interacted with men and women of high and low social status who presented a complaint in either an angry, sad, or smiling demeanor. In this richer environment, emotions were found to have a strong impact on perceptions of dominance and affiliation, whereas other status related variables, had no or only a weaker effect
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
JournalJournal of Intercultural Management and Ethics
StatePublished - 2018


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