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Facebook profiles reveal cultural differences: study


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote during a Facebook f8 Developer Conference at the San Francisco Design Center in September.



Facebook profile choices may reveal subconscious cultural trends, according to a recent study published in The International Journal of Psychology

Researches found the Facebook profile pictures chosen by East Asian users focused more on their photo's setting, while American users tended to emphasize their faces, reported PsychCentral

The study, which surveyed over 500 Facebook users in the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, also found that American users "show greater smile intensity" when compared with their East Asian counterparts, said Asian News International

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The results appear to underscore Asian values like community and relationship to one's environment as well as the longstanding American emphasis on individuality and personal agency. 

Dr. Denise Park, who authored the study with psychologist Chih-Mao Huang, told ANI that the "findings relate to a cultural bias, to be more individualistic and independent in the US, and more communal and interdependent in Asia."

But such deeply-rooted values appear to be somewhat elastic -- researchers also found that US Facebook users studying in Taiwan (and vice versa) changed their profile photos to be more in line with respective trends in their host countries, according to PsychCentral

Huang told PsychCentral that because Facebook is "an extended social context," the networking website offers researchers "a novel approach to investigate cognition and behaviors across cultures." 

The study can be accessed here