Lab Notes : East Brains, West Brains
How do you look at a face? Since 1965 it has been a tenet of psychology that people look at faces through the triangle method; that is, they scan the eyes (especially) and then the mouth, in a basic visual process assumed to be common to all humans. But guess what? This conclusion was based on studies in which only Westerners participated. Now that someone has finally thought to study non-Westerners, you can consign the universality of facial processing to the scientific dustbin.
As scientists report today in the journal PLoS ONE, Westerners tend to look at particular features on a face, such as the eyes or mouth, while East Asians focus on the center of the face, which provides a more holistic view of all the features.