display rule

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A cultural norm (1) or convention governing the circumstances in which facial expressions and other affect displays are allowed, suppressed, or exaggerated. For example, in European and North American cultures, it is considered bad etiquette to smile broadly if a person slips on a banana peel and falls face-down, whereas one is expected to smile when greeting an acquaintance even if not genuinely happy. Japanese culture prescribes suppression of affect displays in many situations in which they are allowed or encouraged elsewhere, this no doubt being the origin of the notion of the inscrutable East.

Subjects: Psychology.

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