20090820

EXPRESSioN*

"...grrr or errr ??? "
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...Found this recent study quite fascinating... It suggests that people from different cultures read facial expressions differently. The East Asian participants focused mostly on the eyes, but those from the West scanned the whole face. Based on the research the team from Glasgow University, East Asian observers found it more difficult to distinguish some facial expressions. In the study, East Asians were more likely than Westerners to read the expression for "fear" as "surprise", and "disgust" as "anger". The researchers say the confusion arises because people from different cultural groups observe different parts of the face when interpreting expression.
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East Asian participants tended to focus on the eyes of the other person, while Western subjects took in the whole face, including the eyes and the mouth. The team showed 13 Western Caucasians and 13 East Asians a set of standardized images depicting the seven main facial expressions: happy, sad, neutral, angry, disgusted, fearful and surprised. They used eye movement trackers to monitor where the participants were looking when interpreting the expressions. A computer program given the same information from the eyes as the East Asian observers was similarly unable to distinguish between the emotions of disgust and anger, and fear and surprise..

East West differences in Emoticons

Emotion

West

East

'Happy'

:-)

(^_^)

'Sad'

:-(

(;_;) or (T_T)

'Surprise'

:-o

(o.o)

The report also states that the Eastern participants used a culturally specific decoding strategy that was inadequate to reliably distinguish the universal facial expressions of fear and disgust. It concluded that information from the eyes is often ambiguous and confusing in these expressions, with consequences for cross-cultural communication and globalization... The researchers also point out that this difference in perception is reflected in the differences between Eastern and Western emoticons - the typographical characters used to convey emotions in e-mails. The Eastern emoticons are not only the right way up but focus on the eyes, whilst in the West the mouth is important. ~Fascinating! No wonder Miss Tyra Banks always asks her models to 'smile' with their eyes! Global expression...errr?! My-my-my...we certainly learn NEW* things everyday! ~XOXO*

-Source via BBC News -Photos ©Des James

41 comments:

sherri said...

very interesting!

Louis Duke said...

Kinda makes you think.

Iva said...

ahh I LOVE this type of stuff!! totally awesome to learn new things! thank you so much for sharing this. WOW the different emoticons are really neat! this is so interesting. I am totally going back now to reread.... WOOHOO! smile :)....with your eyes ;-)

Gabbi said...

Damn it Lenore! You never cease to amaze and entertain... this was just fascinating to me. And just when I was deeply enthralled in the scientific aspects of the study you hit with the emoticons... and then a 'Top Model' reference??!! You're too much!! you made me laugh out loud... or should I say (o.o)... wait, that's surprise... never mind.♥

apparentlyjessy said...

How absolutely fascinating! I love your blog. Every time I visit, I am surprised by your blog header, I always go 'abuuuh' when met with those big blue eyes!

Sixpence and a Blue Moon said...

I did not know this, but am not surprised by it. It would not surprise me if people read facial expressions differently from different parts of the states.
Interesting, indeed.

xoxo

poet said...

That's curious. I knew about the emoticons (and I actually like the Asian ones better...), but I thought that was a conscious decision. Turns out it's a subconscious pattern. Interesting, interesting. Also, the mustache on the guy in the pictures looks weird - as if someone's glued a thin slice of toast under his nose, don't you think? (^,^)

Greetings,
poet

cherie said...

i'm from the far east, so i guess i focus on the eyes...

LENORENEVERMORE said...

Poet,

I'm glad you noticed the "mustache"...
The photo shots were for the series that the photographer was working on; Portraits with FAKE mustaches; taken with the lovely 4x5 cameras.
~XO*

Style Porn said...

This is just so cool. I have scientist-envy.

Anthony said...

Human behavior, and the different ways we all can perceive things, is quite fascinating! But it can also be a bit frustrating at times.

This was a great study. Thanks for sharing, Lenore! (^_^)

Frau said...

I look at the eyes and mouth, here everyone has a blank stare about them and a frown. I mean rarely do you see joy in the eyes unless it's the drunk on the SBahn.

xphoebelinax said...

wow i really learn something new everyday :)

very interesting post! :D hope you are well! xo

Jan said...

Fascinating.
I prefer (^_^) to :-)
love you love your blog
Happy weekend ! x

Elizabeth Marie said...

Wow Lenore!!! How do you do this?! This is so interesting...at 2 am I am transfixed...I love scientific stuff like this because to be honest darrrrling, I kind of suck at it. ha

Nora Johnson said...

Human behaviour and our perception of it can be so perplexing but also so fascinating!

Here in Southern Europe, for instance, there's a different set of gestures indicating emotions from those we're used to in northern climes! And you need to know what they are too!!

Great post - as always!

xxLola:)

PS thanks for stopping by & lovely comments! xx

Susan said...

How curious - and always a pleasure to learn something new. Thanks so much!x

janettaylor said...

so interesting! :-)

XoXo

Ela said...

I loved reading this! Thank you, honey! I never stopped to think why the emiticons are different. Heehee, thanks, I feel just a little smarter now :)
Happy weekend, doll! xx

The Writing Instinct said...

Interesting esp. the emoticons. Thanks for sharing.

yiqin; said...

Ah really interesting. I like guys wit moustache actually.

caroline @ patagonia gifts said...

oh this is really amazing! the difference in emoticons is so clear! wow! love to learn about this things.
hope you have a wonderful weekend, darling! xo

McVal said...

That is kind of wild!

amy @ switz~art said...

Well, now look at that!

That dudes mustache (fake or not) is kinda freaky!

josie(bean) said...

haha love the pics, and i also love using emoticons whenever possible.

peace, lady! (o.o)y

Dream Sequins said...

I like those East Asian emoticons. :) Of course, I'm of Asian descent and use the western type...

Very interesting, though!

sofiasophie said...

VEry interresting!
I'm gonna read more carefully; I have an interview with a HR from Hong-kong within 2 weeks......carefull with my all face movements.....

photojoy said...

How interesting! In fact I have instolled many Japanese imoticons in my PC. We don't have to type out rather just chose from the drop down lists while typing the sentences. I always wanted to use them in English but I've never tried because I heard owing to the difference of the two languages in its structure, Japanese smileys won't be shown into the English texts.
Let me try here and sorry if not.

(^_^)/ Bye for now!

The Haute-Shopper said...

Fascinating read! I love how East Asian's perception of facial expressions translates into their emoticons. I had no idea! I would never think to not look at a person's mouth as well, when trying to figure out what they're up to. Then again, ever since I started watching that tv series 'Lie to Me', I've been obsessed with trying to figure out people's micro-expressions ;-)

Have a fab weekend by the way!

Sal said...

Fascinating indeed! How did you stumble across this study, beautiful?

prettyneons said...

WOW what a interesting post, I'm going to re-read as its so fascinating.
Cheers!(:

PeAce*
prettyneons X

down and out chic said...

isn't socialization and human behavior fascinating?! how neat would it be to research these types of things.

Kristin said...

I do feel like the eyes show a lot, especially if someone isn't being truthful.

Clorivak said...

Cool! I read about a similar study awhile back...I actually took a test and I think I did really well on it..I do believe its on the BBC website. Thanks for sharing!!!
Have a Great weekend!!!

Diana said...

i was so surprised by this study! you would think even something as universal to us as a smiley emoticon will be the same as ours.

or maybe we are just arrogant that way :P


ps
did you get my email? i send stuff out to bloggers all the time, so don't feel weird if you do :)

Couture Carrie said...

Totally fascinating! Have you seen that show "Lie to Me"? It focuses a lot on facial expressions as indicators of (dis)honesty...

Happy Friday to you too, darling L!

xoxox,
CC

Simply Colette said...

That's interesting. When I went on an international tour earlier this year, I noticed an Indian fellow tourist would tilt his head side to side to nod, rather than an up and down for affirmation. It took me a while to comprehend it was a positive gesture, I believe, as there was a language barrier. I thought it was cool :)

Thanks for the kind words today! Have a great weekend :)

Shaddy said...

That moustache has got to go!! I can't get past it when I look at that face.

I'm an idiot when it comes to understanding facial expressions. I need to have everything spelled out for me or I'm at a loss. Except, of course, the very intense expressions are easier to "get."

KC said...

it always makes me :) when i see creative ways to show emotion!
if you are interested, the show Lie To Me is based on a real life psychologist who studies emotions and expressions.
http://www.paulekman.com/

Hanako66 said...

haha!

that is very interesting!

Sam said...

Gosh! Fascinating stuff!! My question is - how do we learn where to focus? The report says Asian subjects focussed more on the eyes whereas Western subjects focussed on the whole face. How did we learn that? Through copying our parents eye tracking of our own face perhaps? Hmmmm! Thank you Ms Lenore!!