How Facial Cues of Models Affect Attention to Websites in Asian and American Cultures

50 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2014

See all articles by Qiuzhen Wang

Qiuzhen Wang

Zhejiang University - School of Management

Michel Wedel

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business

Xuan Liu

University of Maryland

Date Written: November 7, 2014

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Wang, Qiuzhen and Wedel, Michel and Liu, Xuan, How Facial Cues of Models Affect Attention to Websites in Asian and American Cultures (November 7, 2014). Robert H. Smith School Research Paper No. RHS 2539253. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2539253 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2539253

Qiuzhen Wang (Contact Author)

Zhejiang University - School of Management ( email )

Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province 310058
China

Michel Wedel

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business ( email )

College Park, MD 20742-1815
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/directory/michel-wedel

Xuan Liu

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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