People from East Asia tend to have more difficulty than those from Europe in distinguishing facial
expressions-and a new report published online in Current Biology explains why.
Rachael Jack, University of Glasgow researcher, said that rather than scanning evenly (均匀地) across
a face as Westerners do, Easterners fix their attention on the eyes.
"We show that Easterners and Westerners look at different face features to read facial expressions,"
Jack said. "Westerners look at the eyes and the mouth in equal measure, whereas Easterners favor the eyes
and neglect (忽略) the mouth."
According to Jack and her colleagues, the discovery shows that human communication of emotion is
more complex than previously believed. As a result, facial expressions that had been considered universally
recognizable cannot be used to reliably convey emotion in cross-cultural situations.
The researchers studied cultural differences in the recognition of facial expressions by recording the
eye movements of 13 Western Caucasian and 13 East Asian people while they observed pictures of expressive
faces and put them into categories: happy, sad, surprised, fearful, disgusted, angry, or neutral. They 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 did Westerners. "The cultural difference in eye movements that they show is probably a reflection of
cultural difference in facial expressions," Jack said. "Our data suggest that whereas Westerners use the whole
face to convey emotion, Easterners use the eyes more and mouth less."
In short, the data show that facial expressions are not universal signals of human emotion. From here on,
examining how cultural factors have diversified these basic social skills will help our understanding of human
emotion. Otherwise, when it comes to communicating emotions across cultures, Easterners and Westerners
will find themselves lost in translation.
It is important for Americans to thank other people for favors even if what the other person did was very
small. Both children and older people should be thanked for any kind act. The person accepting the thanks
usually says something to make the favor seem small, or says that it was his pleasure to help you, or simply,
It is equally important to apologize when you have hurt or disappointed someone. When possible, you
should always add a reasonable explanation or excuse for your behavior. When there is some loss or damage
to personal property (财产), the person responsible (负责) for the loss should both apologize and offer to pay
for the item.
Most of the time the other person accepts the apology graciously and doesn't show any disappointment or
anger. But if the problem was really serious or it happened several times before, the person might say
something how he feels.