Asian Smiley Emoticons Plush - Set Of 6
In a study of cultural differences in the recognition of facial expressions...
In addition to having their eye movements monitored, the participants in the study of Jack et al. (2009) classified same-race and other-race faces as conveying one of these emotions: happiness, surprise, fear, disgust, anger, sadness, or no emotion (neutral). The results suggested that facial expressions are not as universal as Paul Ekman made them out to be:
...eye movements of 13 Western Caucasian and 13 East Asian people [were recorded] while they observed pictures of expressive faces and put them into categories: happy, sad, surprised, fearful, disgusted, angry, or neutral. The faces were standardized according to the so-called Facial Action Coding System (FACS) such that each expression displayed a specific combination of facial muscles typically associated with each feeling of emotion. They then compared how accurately participants read those facial expressions using their particular eye movement strategies.
It turned out that Easterners focused much greater attention on the eyes and made significantly more errors than Westerners did. The cultural specificity in eye movements that they show is probably a reflection of cultural specificity in facial expressions, [Rachael E.] Jack said. Their data suggest that while Westerners use the whole face to convey emotion, Easterners use the eyes more and mouth less.
A survey of Eastern versus Western emoticons certainly supports that idea.
"Emoticons are used to convey different emotions in cyberspace as they are the iconic representation of facial expressions," Jack said. "Interestingly, there are clear cultural differences in the formations of these icons." Western emoticons primarily use the mouth to convey emotional states, e.g. : ) for happy and : ( for sad, she noted, whereas Eastern emoticons use the eyes, e.g. ^.^ for happy and ;_; for sad.
East Asian observers made significantly more errors when categorizing "disgust"’ (p less than 0.05) and "fear" (p less than 0.001) than Western Caucasian (WC) observers did. In contrast, WC observers categorized all facial expressions with comparably high accuracy.In East Asian participants disgust was most often confused with anger, and fear was mistaken for surprise -- which happened because of a greater focus on the eyes, as shown in the figure below. Eye fixations on the mouth (in red) were less intense for the East Asians compared to the Western Caucasians, which resulted in less accurate discrimination of surprise vs. fear and disgust vs. anger (shown in the red bars in the bottom two panels).
Adapted from Fig 1B (Jack et al.) - Color-coded distributions presented on grayscale sample stimuli show the relative distributions of fixations across face regions. Higher color saturation indicates higher fixation density, shown relative to all conditions. Note that the red ‘‘mouth’’ fixations for EA observers are less intense as compared to WC observers across conditions. Color-coded bars to the left of each face represent the mean categorization accuracy for that condition, with red indicating a significant difference in categorization errors between groups. SR = same race, OR = other race.
But are Shrink Rap Roy's Psych Notes for Smilies universal across Eastern and Western psychiatrists? That remains an open question...
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Jack RE, Blais C, Scheepers C, Schyns PG, Caldara R (2009). Cultural Confusions Show that Facial Expressions Are Not Universal Current Biology. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2009.07.051
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