The seven basic facial expressions of emotion can be dubbed the world’s universal language. Numerous scientific studies have qualified the fact that facial expressions are innate human behaviors, so they do not differ across cultures.
Eureka Alert has just reported that there is a new study that examines how people from divergent cultural backgrounds, particularly East Asians and Western Caucasians, perceive facial expressions through their own mental representations.
Lead researcher Rachael E. Jack, PhD, of the University of Glasgow commented, “Our findings highlight the importance of understanding cultural differences in communication, which is particularly relevant in our increasingly connected world.”
This research purports that some facial emotions are expressed differently in East Asia; therefore, questioning the validity of the universality of facial expressions especially the ones outlined in FACS.
It suggests that facial expressions categorized using FACS focus on the nose and mouth region of the face, but the study, which has been published online in APA’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, states that East Asians focus on the eye region of the face; therefore, making errors when delineating between facial expressions of fear, surprise, anger and disgust.
“By conducting this study, we hoped to show that people from different cultures think about facial expressions in different ways,”
Humintell understands the importance of cross-cultural adaptation. Different Cultures respond to situations in divergent ways. It is important to be able to recognize this difference and understand its cultural relevance.
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What do you think about Jack’s findings? Do you think they have any merit?