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Cultural smiley 20/08/97

Showing farmers various pictures to represent ergonomics questions (such as how
hard are you working and how comfortable do you feel) I was told the following:

A picture of a running man was perceived to represent hard work, (as expected) however when asked whether running was the hardest task they might do the farmers
disagreed, saying that other activities are harder, such as felling trees, weeding, ridging and digging. Maybe they don't consider running to be 'work'...

The picture of a smiley face. You or I would recognise it as "happy", and associate it with being comfortable. The Ghanaian farmers however could not decide whether it is a happy face or a sad face. When asked how could it be made to represent happiness they all said that it must show it's teeth. So Mr. Smiley is not cross cultural, he's got to have teeth to be happy!!

And a face that we would associate with being uncomfortable (squiggly line for face and crosses for eyes) what met with blank faces. Uh? said the farmers.... Back to the drawing board for me....

© marc mcneill 2002