Most people might think that looking at people’s faces is a great way of overcoming language barriers, but apparently, how you read them could depend on your cultural background.
A recent study has shown that Western and Asian cultures read facial expressions very differently.
Volunteers from East Asia and the West were asked to look at what are considered to be universal facial expressions, used to convey emotions like fear, disgust, surprise and anger.
They discovered that Westerners scanned the whole face, whereas East Asian observers focused mainly on the eyes. By ignoring the mouth they were confused by expressions for fear and disgust, often misreading them as ‘surprise’ and ‘anger’.
Has misreading someone’s expression ever led to a funny or difficult encounter for you?
Be it funny, serious or sad, we at Weekend World Today would love to hear about your culturally confusing experience…