Two-Dimensional Model of Emotional Display

Various researchers have contrasted positive and negative emotions including Robinson (2009).

2Robinson's criteria contrasting basic emotions

The more widely used Plutchik’s wheel of emotions also dichotomizes emotions.


Other researchers have also noted that there is a relationship between emotions and culture. Some cultures are more animated and allow for greater display of emotion (animated).  Some cultures have rules that call for less display of emotion.  Generally the cultural rules governing display of emotion are called display rules.  If one combines the two concepts then a two dimensional model of emotional display can be created as shown in the table below.

Two Dimensional Model of Emotional Display Table

My own experience would suggest that in Thai culture 1 and 4 are the foundations of their display rules.  Thais are encouraged to smile but are discouraged from showing negative emotions especially anger.  Chinese use 2 and 4 as the foundation of their display rules.  Chinese culture tends to encourage its members not to display positive or negative emotions.   Latinos occupy the 1 and 3 quadrants.  Latinos are more likely to display both positive and negative emotions.


Robinson, D. L. (2009). Brain function, mental experience and personality. The Netherlands Journal of Psychology, 64, 152–167″.

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