Geschichte | Geographie | Wirtschaft | Gesellschaft


Cora Anne Krammer, 2003 | Wilen bei Wollerau, SZ


Throughout our lives, we are exposed to emotions, be it if someone is annoyed with us or if we sense that someone is happy. We are more prone to recognise negative emotions than positive ones, though, and when thinking of psychology, “negative psychology” usually comes to mind first. Positive psychology, a recently developed domain, changes the situation. Being a relatively new branch, it leaves areas such as emotion psychology fairly open for further research. This paper is aimed at one of these open fields: What affects the recognition of positive emotions? An online survey, examining the influence of gender, age and culture, was conducted with 286 participants in order to answer the question posed. Are women better at emotion recognition than men? Do higher age and more life experience mean that older adults can recognise emotions more accurately? Are all cultures equal when it comes to emotion recognition? The answer supports the stereotype of women achieving higher scores than men, shows a connection between age and motivation and highlights differences in emotion recognition between cultures.


How do gender, age and culture influence the recognition of positive emotions?


The gathered data was substantiated by multiple other research papers. These research papers were acquired through broad research and using the references provided by other papers. This helped to back up the assembled data, increasing the result’s significance. Four different methods were applied to collect data: An online survey with 286 participants, the gathering and transfer of the online survey’s responses into an excel spreadsheet where the data was organised by specific characteristics (gender, age, culture) and categories (two genders, five age groups, six cultural groups), as well as personal communication through interviews and email exchanges.


Females (n = 182) recognised the emotions shown better than males (n = 104), with a recognition accuracy of 41.13%, whilst males scored an accuracy of 38.60%. This results in a difference of 2.53% between the two examined genders. Adults between the ages of 25 and 64 (n = 54) recognised the emotions best, with the third age group (25 to 49 years old) reaching 50.00% and the fourth age group (50 to 64 years old) reaching 46.43%. Older adults between 65 and 80 (n = 10) scored 40.00%. The two youngest age groups, ranging from 10 to 24 (n = 222), were the worst in emotion recognition, with the first age group (10 to 15 years old) scoring 38.53%, and the second age group (16 to 24 years old) reaching 38.17%. Northern Europe (n = 22) had the highest recognition accuracy with 40.91% when recognising the emotions, followed by Switzerland (n = 219) with 40.64%, Central Europe (n = 48) and America (n = 21) with 38.10% each, Asian and Pacific Countries (n = 9) with 36.51% and Eastern Europe and Russia (n = 11) with 33.76%.


The hypothesis of women having a slight advantage over men in emotion recognition was shown to be correct. Various research papers and theories supported this hypothesis (i. e. gender similarities hypothesis). Initially, it was assumed that the older adults’ age group would be the best in emotion recognition, given their lifelong exposure to emotions. However, this was shown to be incorrect. The present paper suggests that this is because older adults might have an increased motivation to recognise positive emotions (positivity bias), which at the same time nullifies the cognitive decline older adults may experience. This would result in the age group of older adults being neither the best nor the worst at recognising emotions. The hypotheses connected to the cultural influence turned out to be correct: There are cultural differences in emotion recognition. Countries that are geographically close share a similar emotion recognition profile, whilst geographically distant countries do not share this similarity. The present paper proposed a new hypothesis: Historical heterogeneity can only be applied if the cultural mixture in a country’s past occurred peacefully. If this is not given, the theory does not seem applicable. This hypothesis requires future research. To increase the data’s validity, a more representative random sample would have been needed.


Females seem to have an advantage over men, adults of middle age appear to recognise positive emotions best, and there are differences in emotion recognition across cultures. To sum up: Gender, age and culture influence the recognition of positive emotions.



Würdigung durch den Experten

Hans Rudolf Schelling

Die Arbeit setzt sich mit der Positiven Psychologie und mit positiven Emotionen auseinander. Nach einer umfassenden, gründlich recherchierten und präzisen Darstellung der theoretischen Grundlagen präsentiert Cora Krammer die Ergebnisse ihrer eigenen Online-Studie, welche – ohne Anspruch auf Generalisierbarkeit – die Einflüsse des Geschlechts, des Alters und der kulturellen Herkunft auf das Erkennen von sieben positiven Emotionen untersucht. Die Arbeit zeichnet sich durch eine reflektierte, wissenschaftliche Vorgehensweise sowie eine transparente und verständliche Struktur und Sprache aus.


sehr gut




Kantonsschule Ausserschwyz, Pfäffikon
Lehrerin: Mirta Boesch