Does culture influence biology

A question of culture

In Japan the eyes, in the USA the mouth

In Asian countries like Japan, it is the norm to control emotions or even suppress them completely. That this succeeds especially in the mouth area, people of Asian cultures read the emotions of their counterpart primarily from the expression of the eyes. In western cultures like the USA, people live out their emotions relatively openly. The people of these cultures pay particular attention to the expressive mouth when reading emotions.

Emoticons as part of the culture

The cultural difference is also evident in the modern written language. When chatting, different emoticons are used depending on the culture. While in Japan the eyes of the emoticons convey the emotion, for example (^_^) for happy and (; _;) for sad, the focus of Americans is on the mouth, :-) for happy and :-( for sad .

Neurobiology in the classroom

How does disgust show on the face? Why are fear and surprise so similar? Thanks to the computer-aided eye tracking method, the various emotional expressions on the face can now be digitally recorded and precisely defined. Get on the trail of emotions together with your students and find out what eye tracking reveals about us! You can find more information on this topic and ideas for teaching in our “Neurobiology” booklet.


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