How Facial Cues of Models Affect Attention to Websites in Asian and American Cultures
50 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2014
Date Written: November 7, 2014
Gaze direction and the facial expression of emotion are the two most important facial cues in non-verbal communication. This research involves three eye tracking experiments to investigate the joint effects of facial expression (neutral/happy) and gaze direction (direct/averted) of models on websites on visual attention among American and Chinese participants. They reveal that among both cultures a gaze cue primes initial attention to the product or brand and show that positive affect from the happy expression when a model looks at the viewer carries over to the product or brand. For American participants, a model that looks at the viewer with a happy expression draws more attention to the brand, while for Chinese participants a model that looks at the product with a happy expression draws more attention to the brand. These differences are explained from a cultural difference in using the eyes and mouth as cues to recognize and interpret smiles in Asian and Western cultures, respectively. Further, the match in ethnicity between a model and the viewer exacerbated the attention effects of facial expression.
Keywords: gaze direction, facial expression, attention, e-commerce websites, eye-tracking
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