Speaking different languages is hard enough, but interpreting facial expressions differently only adds to the confusion when people from different places try to communicate! When Asians migrate to US and open small businesses, there is sometimes a lot of misunderstanding, because smiling at strangers is considered rude in many Asian countries, while Americans can be put off by what they perceive as coldness. This is just another example of the fact that different cultures read facial expressions differently.

On BBC News, Judith Burns reports that researchers discovered that Asians focus mainly on the eyes, Westerners scan the entire face, therefore they were more likely than Westerners to read the expression for “fear” as “surprise” and “disgust” as “anger.”

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