Here’s an interesting story on a study that suggests that different cultures may read facial expressions differently, in a way that could lead to misunderstandings.
The study indicates that facial expressions indicating fear and surprise are among those most likely to be misunderstood. East Asian participants were much more likely to focus on the eyes, which are much more likely to be ambiguous, whereas Western participants looked at the entire face.
The study made me wonder how the participants would match the politicans pictured with this post with the following mental or emotional states:
* Slap happy
The eyes have it!
Another interesting aspect of the article is the difference in “emoticons” between those used in the U.S. and those used in Asia, with those used in Asia right-side up rather than on their side and with much more attention given to the eyes. I’ve never used an emoticon, but if I did I think I would use the Asian versions.