Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jennifer A. Richeson, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, 2029 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nonverbal behavior is a critical component of social interaction. People rely on nonverbal aspects of behavior during interactions to assess how their interaction partners are feeling and how to respond to them (Feldman, Philippot, & Custrini, 1991). One aspect of nonverbal behavior that can be influential in shaping the dynamics of interpersonal interaction is the communication of emotion. Indeed, the ability to accurately decode the emotional states of others from nonverbal facial and vocal cues has been found to predict social competence (e.g., Feldman et al., 1991; Glanville & Nowicki, 2002).
Recent research suggests that cultural-group membership may play an important role in the accurate communication (i.e., encoding and decoding) of emotion (Elfenbein & Ambady, 2002a, 2002b). Building on this work, we propose that the psychological processes associated with social categorization and social identity produce systematic biases in the recognition of emotion from facial expressions across members of different groups. Thus, the present chapter examines emotional facial expression and communication in an intergroup context. To provide a general conceptual foundation for the relevance of group membership to the communication of emotion, we begin by briefly reviewing how group membership fundamentally affects the way people think about, feel about, and act toward others.