Eyetracking emotions

:-) or to anyone from the east (^_^)

Apparently the western countries have a completely different way of interacting with their colleagues than the east.

In research, which consisted of a paltry 13 Western Caucasians and 13 East Asians, it found using eye tracker that different cultures read facial expressions differently. Apparently Asian people focused more on the eyes of a person, while westerners read the mouth and lips as a basis to relate.

This works on a personal level but is also reflected in the broader usage of emoticons.
For instance:
West East
Happy :-) (^_^)
Sad :-( (;_;) or (T_T)
Surprise :-O (o.o)

It amazes me sometimes to discover how easy it it to get cultural differences wrong, especially if work has to span broader markets than your own. We've experienced this before as specific guidelines have be in place for us to adhere to, but such a simple thing like a smile or a surprise face can conjure such a confused response from others.