When you look at someone to try and work out what they’re feeling, do you focus on their mainly eyes, or on their whole face?
If you come from East Asia you might focus mainly on the eyes and express your emotions mainly through your eyes, whereas Westerners tend to focus on and use their whole face, at least according to an article on Science Daily.
The researchers found that facial expressions they believed to be universally recognisable were often misinterpreted by people from East Asia, who tend to focus most on the eyes when trying to decipher such expressions. They also noted the emoticons reflect this difference as well, in that Western ones use the mouth the convey emotions, e.g. :) (happy) and :( (sad), while East Asian ones use the eyes: ^.^ (happy) and ;_; (sad).