Universality versus cultural specificity of three emotion domains: some evidence based on the cascading model of emotional intelligence

Bo Shao, Lorna Doucet, David R. Caruso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research on culture and emotion questioned whether emotions are universal or culture-specific. However, as it has become clear that emotions have both universal and culture-specific features, recent research has focused on distinguishing the aspects of emotions that are more universal from those that are more culture-specific. We tested the extent to which the three emotion domains in the cascading model of emotional intelligence (emotion perception, emotion understanding, and emotion regulation) are universal versus culture-specific. In the first study, data from China, the United States, Japan, India, and Argentina provided support for our hypotheses that emotion perception is the more universal domain of emotional intelligence, and emotion understanding and emotion regulation are more culture-specific domains. In the second study, the findings were replicated using a larger sample from China and the United States, and we explored specific cultural differences in emotion understanding and emotion regulation. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-251
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • biocultural model of emotion
  • cascading model of emotional intelligence
  • cultural specificity
  • emotion perception
  • emotion regulation
  • emotion understanding
  • emotional intelligence
  • universality

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