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Different ways of Feeling: Exploring Culture and Emotion from a West-African Lens

Vivian Dzokoto
Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University
Date and Time: 
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 05:30

Department of Anthropology
Main Quad - Building 50
Room 51A (Colloquium Room)


Emotions are a defining component of the human experience: they contribute to our survival, guide our behavior, and aid us in forming relationships. Anthropological and Cultural Psychological perspectives view emotions as being culturally constructed scripts. This presentation will review a program of emotion research conducted in selected West African contexts,  using emotion data obtained using a variety of qualitative and quantitative research approaches. Presented findings will highlight cultural scripting of emotion labels and emotion discourse; examine novel avenues to understand emotion in social context; and explore cultural variations in emotion-related attentional processes.  The findings will illustrate how psychological data from under-researched populations can inform and advance the study of human behavior.


A Cultural and Clinical Psychologist by training, Dzokoto’s research focuses on identifying cultural dimensions that affect (i) emotions, and (ii) mental health, and (iii) money behaviors in African settings. Her research on money focuses on barriers and drivers of money behaviors such as savings, adoption of money technologies, and use of new forms of currency.