When Olympic athletes throw up their arms, clench their fists and grimace after a win, they are displaying triumph through a gesture that is the same across cultures, a new study suggests. New findings due to be published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior suggest this victory pose signals feelings of triumph, challenging previous research that labeled the expression pride.
"We found that displays of triumph include different behaviors to those of pride and occur more immediately after a victory or win," said David Matsumoto, professor of psychology at San Francisco State University. "Triumph has its own signature expression that is immediate, automatic and universal across cultures."
Matsumoto's latest findings come after his 2008 study of Olympic athletes, which suggested that expressions of pride and shame are universal and hardwired in humans. For his latest study, he investigated whether some of the expressions labeled as pride in his 2008 paper are more indicative of a separate emotion -- triumph.
Little research has been conducted on triumph as an emotion. Some psychologists believe triumph is a subset of pride, while Matsumoto's latest findings suggest triumph may be an emotion in its own right.
Participants in the study were shown photographs of judo competitors from 17 countries, who had just won a medal match at the 2004 Olympic Games, and were asked to judge the emotion portrayed by choosing an emotion from a list. The study included participants from two different cultures: the United States and South Korea. Separate research has found that South Korean culture is more hierarchical than the U.S., values collectivism more than individual achievement and rights and includes social rules that downplay displays of emotion.
Across multiple studies, the observers consistently chose the same expressions as representations of triumph. In the photographs labeled triumph, athletes raised t
|Contact: Elaine Bible|
San Francisco State University