The writing of this chapter was facilitated by grants from the “Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique de Belgique” 8.4510.99 and 8.4510.03, and by a grant ARC 96/01-198 from the University of Louvain to the second author and by a grant from the “Fond Québecois de la Recherche sur la société et la culture” to the first author. Correspondence regarding this chapter should be addressed to Ursula Hess at Hess.Ursula@UQAM.ca.
The aim of this book was to present recent thinking and research on the interaction between encoding and decoding processes from a social context perspective. In this context, we wanted to emphasize the influence that norms and beliefs, as well as the social characteristics of both the encoder and the decoder, have on the perception of emotion. That the interpretation of emotion displays should be informed by the social context is an important corollary of not only social-constructivist approaches which place emotions entirely in the service of social coordination but also by evolutionist approaches. Thus, Turner (1997) asserts that emotions evolved in part to provide the means for effective sanctioning and the enforcement of moral codes within groups of hominids. His basic argument is that the communication of emotions in humans was a necessary prerequisite for social bonding among hominids.