ERIC Number: ED363296
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Reference Count: N/A
International Icon Symbols: How Well Are These Symbols Understood?
Griffin, Robert E.; Gibbs, William J.
There is a great reliance on symbolic messages in our society, but the success of these messages depends on how they are interpreted. The variability of subjects' interpretations of commonly used visual symbols was investigated by comparing the interpretations of a U.S. audience and a Jamaican audience. Responses of 27 executive master's in business administration (MBA) students attending the University of the West Indies in Kingston (Jamaica) were compared with those of 99 MBA students at Pennsylvania State University. Subjects identified 48 commonly used symbols. For both samples, the familiar no smoking symbol was the most recognized. However, Jamaican and U.S. students differed in their interpretation of the majority of symbols. The symbol language was developed, in part, to help international audiences navigate better in a different culture, but they do not appear to be entirely successful. The implications for the design of communicating symbols are discussed. Seven figures illustrate recognized and least recognized symbols. An appendix presents some of the symbols from the study. (SLD)
Descriptors: Business Administration, Comparative Analysis, Cross Cultural Studies, Cultural Differences, Efficiency, Foreign Countries, Graduate Students, Higher Education, Imagery, International Communication, International Studies, Nonverbal Communication, Recognition (Psychology), Signs, Symbolism, Traffic Control
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Jamaica; United States