While doing some research the other day, I came across a very interesting paper on recognizing facial expressions. The authors state:
On the other hand, there are a limited number of distinct facial expressions of emotion that appear to be biologically wired, produced involuntarily, and whose meanings are similar across all cultures; for example, anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise
–P. Ekman. The argument and evidence about universals in facial expressions of emotion. In D.C. Raskin, editor, Psychological methods in criminal investigation and evidence, pages 297–332. Springer Publishing Co, Inc., New York, 1989.