Facial expressions versus words: Unlocking complex emotional responses of residents toward tourists

Shiqin Zhang, Nan Chen, Cathy H.C. Hsu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Tourism as an emotional sphere, researchers' efforts on emotions lag behind the fruitful achievements of psychology, in both methods and theories. Tourism studies on emotion mostly rely on self-reports only, thus limiting the understanding to explicitly expressed emotions. This study aims to compare residents' emotional responses toward tourists expressed implicitly (through facial expressions) and explicitly (through self-reports), and interpret identified discrepancies by exploring the psychological mechanism behind the two expression channels. Using self-developed video vignettes as triggers, Hong Kong residents’ facial expressions during watching and self-reported emotions after watching the videos were recorded. Through a comprehensive comparison, desires-derived and stereotypes-elicited emotional responses of residents toward tourists were distinguished. Facial expressions conveyed more desires-derived emotions like happiness, sadness, and anger, whereas self-reports emphasized stereotypes-elicited emotions, particularly disgust. A dual-process model of emotion formation was proposed to interpret the emotional expressive discrepancies, thereby enhancing the theorization of tourism studies on emotion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104226
JournalTourism Management
Early online dateSept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Desires
  • Emotion
  • FaceReader
  • Facial expressions
  • Instinctive process
  • Reflective process
  • Stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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