For millions of its Western users, the picture they choose to illustrate themselves on Facebook is an important decision to make. They know it can be the first impression that anyone in the world receives of them, so they’re often deeply conscious of what features are displayed and what flaws are hidden by their chosen image. But despite their careful deliberation the decision may not be a personal or independent one at all — the choice may be more conditioned by cultural factors than anyone assumes.
According to new research published in the International Journal of Psychology, the Facebook profile pictures of Americans and other Westerners are more likely to zoom-in and focus on the individual’s face than those of Facebookers from the more collectivistic and interdependent cultures of East Asia, whose profile pics generally pull-out to include more background features.
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