Friday, August 21, 2009

Facial Expressions Are Not Universal

Laughter is universal. Many people also think facial expressions are universal because they are so basic. A recent study though states that facial expressions are made and read differently based on geography.

Apparently East Asians tend to focus on eyes while those of Western European cultural heritage focus on the whole face. This is backed up by evidence in computers. Cultural Western European emoitcons tend to emphasize the mouth [ :), :(, :O] while Eastern Asian emoitcons emphasize the eyes [^_^, T_T, o.o]

There are already studies that discuss how Asians and Americans (culturally an offshoot of Western Europeans) visually scan differently. Whether it be culturally or some genetic difference it is clear geography impacts how one sees and interacts with the world. The only questions now are how great is this gap, what are the pros and cons of this, and how can any negatives be neutralized.

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