on Tue 02 Feb 2010 (01:02 GMT) (19066 views)
Although the research is primarily concerned with natural, human facial expressions, the universities involved extrapolated further evidence to provide differences in interpretations between text emoticons:
A computer program given the same information from the eyes as the East Asian observers was similarly unable to distinguish between the emotions of disgust and anger, and fear and surprise.
Both these emoticons represent happiness. But which one do you associate happy with?
Differences were widely regarded to be related on the focus of a specific region of the face. While Asians typically scanned around the eyes, westerns tended to look at the face as a whole.
Source: BBC News - Facial expressions 'not global'
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