Exploring cultural variation in the emotional expressivity of online drawings

Justin Thomas, Aamna Al-Shehhi, Ian Grey, Tai Broach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Extensive research points to cross-cultural differences in emotional expressivity and the use of context in communication. This study explored these ideas through digital, online, drawings produced using Google's Quick Draw (N = 4869). The selected pictures were of fish and had been drawn by individuals from across six nations: UK, USA, Australia (individualist), Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (collectivist). Participants from individualist societies produced images expressing emotion (e.g. smiling or frowning fish) more frequently than their collectivist counterparts. Similarly, participants from individualist nations were significantly more likely to include contextualising elements within their drawings (e.g. seaweed, bubbles etc.). The results support previous work on emotional expression across cultures and research in the area of high and low context communication. This study extends these ideas into the area of computer-based drawing, suggesting Google's Quick Draw represents a useful resource for exploring emotional and cultural variation through the medium of online drawings.

Original languageBritish English
Article number100002
JournalComputers in Human Behavior Reports
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Culture
  • Digital drawing
  • Emotion
  • Online
  • Quick Draw


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