Audio-Visual Interactions during Emotion Processing in Bicultural Bilinguals

Ashley Chung-Fat-Yim*, Peiyao Chen, Alice H.D. Chan, Viorica Marian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the growing number of bicultural bilinguals in the world, the way in which multisensory emotions are evaluated by bilinguals who identify with two or more cultures remains unknown. In the present study, Chinese-English bicultural bilinguals from Singapore viewed Asian or Caucasian faces and heard Mandarin or English speech, and evaluated the emotion from one of the two simultaneously-presented modalities. Reliance on the visual modality was greater when bicultural bilinguals processed Western audio-visual emotion information. Although no differences between modalities emerged when processing East-Asian audio-visual emotion information, correlations revealed that bicultural bilinguals increased their reliance on the auditory modality with more daily exposure to East-Asian cultures. Greater interference from the irrelevant modality was observed for Asian faces paired with English speech than for Caucasian faces paired with Mandarin speech. We conclude that processing of emotion in bicultural bilinguals is guided by culture-specific norms, and that familiarity influences how the emotions of those who speak a foreign language are perceived and evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMotivation and Emotion
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Bicultural bilinguals
  • Biculturalism
  • Cultural frame switching
  • Emotion
  • Emotion perception
  • Modality dominance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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