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Eye contact perception in the West and East: a cross-cultural study.

Uono S, Hietanen JK - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Finnish (European) and Japanese (East Asian) participants were asked to determine whether Finnish and Japanese neutral faces with various gaze directions were looking at them.Further, participants rated the face stimuli for emotion and other affect-related dimensions.This may be explained by Westerners experiencing more eye contact in their daily life leading to larger visual experience of gaze perception generally, and to more accurate perception of eye contact with people from their own cultural background particularly.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.

ABSTRACT
This study investigated whether eye contact perception differs in people with different cultural backgrounds. Finnish (European) and Japanese (East Asian) participants were asked to determine whether Finnish and Japanese neutral faces with various gaze directions were looking at them. Further, participants rated the face stimuli for emotion and other affect-related dimensions. The results indicated that Finnish viewers had a smaller bias toward judging slightly averted gazes as directed at them when judging Finnish rather than Japanese faces, while the bias of Japanese viewers did not differ between faces from their own and other cultural backgrounds. This may be explained by Westerners experiencing more eye contact in their daily life leading to larger visual experience of gaze perception generally, and to more accurate perception of eye contact with people from their own cultural background particularly. The results also revealed cultural differences in the perception of emotion from neutral faces that could also contribute to the bias in eye contact perception.

Show MeSH
Means of the percentage of looking-at-me responses.Looking-at-me responses are indicated as a function of gaze direction for Finnish and Japanese faces of Finnish and Japanese participants.
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pone.0118094.g003: Means of the percentage of looking-at-me responses.Looking-at-me responses are indicated as a function of gaze direction for Finnish and Japanese faces of Finnish and Japanese participants.

Mentions: Looking-at-me responses were subjected to participants’ cultural background × stimulus faces’ cultural background × gaze direction ANOVA. The main effects of gaze direction (F (5, 290) = 1079.74, p < .001) and cultural background of the stimulus face (F (1, 58) = 8.12, p = .006) were observed (see Fig. 3). Predictably, the proportion of looking-at-me responses decreased with increasing gaze angles away from the direct gaze. Overall, the proportion of looking-at-me responses was higher for Japanese than Finnish faces. Essentially, there was a significant interaction between participants’ and stimulus faces’ cultural backgrounds (F (1, 58) = 5.86, p = .019). A follow-up analysis revealed that, overall, Finnish participants gave more looking-at-me responses to Japanese than Finnish faces (F (1, 29) = 12.30, p = .002), while the cultural background of stimulus faces had no effect on Japanese participants’ responses (F (1, 29) = 0.11, p = .748).


Eye contact perception in the West and East: a cross-cultural study.

Uono S, Hietanen JK - PLoS ONE (2015)

Means of the percentage of looking-at-me responses.Looking-at-me responses are indicated as a function of gaze direction for Finnish and Japanese faces of Finnish and Japanese participants.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4340785&req=5

pone.0118094.g003: Means of the percentage of looking-at-me responses.Looking-at-me responses are indicated as a function of gaze direction for Finnish and Japanese faces of Finnish and Japanese participants.
Mentions: Looking-at-me responses were subjected to participants’ cultural background × stimulus faces’ cultural background × gaze direction ANOVA. The main effects of gaze direction (F (5, 290) = 1079.74, p < .001) and cultural background of the stimulus face (F (1, 58) = 8.12, p = .006) were observed (see Fig. 3). Predictably, the proportion of looking-at-me responses decreased with increasing gaze angles away from the direct gaze. Overall, the proportion of looking-at-me responses was higher for Japanese than Finnish faces. Essentially, there was a significant interaction between participants’ and stimulus faces’ cultural backgrounds (F (1, 58) = 5.86, p = .019). A follow-up analysis revealed that, overall, Finnish participants gave more looking-at-me responses to Japanese than Finnish faces (F (1, 29) = 12.30, p = .002), while the cultural background of stimulus faces had no effect on Japanese participants’ responses (F (1, 29) = 0.11, p = .748).

Bottom Line: Finnish (European) and Japanese (East Asian) participants were asked to determine whether Finnish and Japanese neutral faces with various gaze directions were looking at them.Further, participants rated the face stimuli for emotion and other affect-related dimensions.This may be explained by Westerners experiencing more eye contact in their daily life leading to larger visual experience of gaze perception generally, and to more accurate perception of eye contact with people from their own cultural background particularly.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.

ABSTRACT
This study investigated whether eye contact perception differs in people with different cultural backgrounds. Finnish (European) and Japanese (East Asian) participants were asked to determine whether Finnish and Japanese neutral faces with various gaze directions were looking at them. Further, participants rated the face stimuli for emotion and other affect-related dimensions. The results indicated that Finnish viewers had a smaller bias toward judging slightly averted gazes as directed at them when judging Finnish rather than Japanese faces, while the bias of Japanese viewers did not differ between faces from their own and other cultural backgrounds. This may be explained by Westerners experiencing more eye contact in their daily life leading to larger visual experience of gaze perception generally, and to more accurate perception of eye contact with people from their own cultural background particularly. The results also revealed cultural differences in the perception of emotion from neutral faces that could also contribute to the bias in eye contact perception.

Show MeSH