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Reduced distractibility in a remote culture.

de Fockert JW, Caparos S, Linnell KJ, Davidoff J - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: However, the Himba showed a marked reduction in overall flanker interference compared to Westerners.The smaller interference effect in the Himba occurred despite their overall slower performance than Westerners, and was evident even at a low level of perceptual load of the displays.We argue that the reduced distractibility in the Himba is clearly consistent with their tendency to prioritize the analysis of local details in visual processing.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, United Kingdom. j.de-fockert@gold.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Background: In visual processing, there are marked cultural differences in the tendency to adopt either a global or local processing style. A remote culture (the Himba) has recently been reported to have a greater local bias in visual processing than Westerners. Here we give the first evidence that a greater, and remarkable, attentional selectivity provides the basis for this local bias.

Methodology/principal findings: In Experiment 1, Eriksen-type flanker interference was measured in the Himba and in Western controls. In both groups, responses to the direction of a task-relevant target arrow were affected by the compatibility of task-irrelevant distractor arrows. However, the Himba showed a marked reduction in overall flanker interference compared to Westerners. The smaller interference effect in the Himba occurred despite their overall slower performance than Westerners, and was evident even at a low level of perceptual load of the displays. In Experiment 2, the attentional selectivity of the Himba was further demonstrated by showing that their attention was not even captured by a moving singleton distractor.

Conclusions/significance: We argue that the reduced distractibility in the Himba is clearly consistent with their tendency to prioritize the analysis of local details in visual processing.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Examples of the stimulus displays for each condition of perceptual load in Experiment 1.Top left and bottom right panels are compatible displays, top right and bottom left panels are incompatible displays. Images not to scale.
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pone-0026337-g001: Examples of the stimulus displays for each condition of perceptual load in Experiment 1.Top left and bottom right panels are compatible displays, top right and bottom left panels are incompatible displays. Images not to scale.

Mentions: See Figure 1 for example stimuli. Each stimulus display consisted of black arrow stimuli presented on a white ground. A target arrow subtending a visual angle of 1.40° horizontally and 1.75° vertically and pointing either to the left or the right was equally likely to appear in each of three possible positions, arranged either at fixation or 2.40° vertically above or below it. To manipulate perceptual load, the left or right pointing target arrow could either appear on its own (set size 1), or with one (set size 2), two (set size 3), or three (set size 4) additional non-targets. Non-targets were the same size as target arrows but pointed either up or down and could occupy any one of the three possible target positions not occupied on any trial by the target arrow, as well as two additional positions above and below these positions. Non-target and target arrows always occupied adjacent positions. Each display also contained two left or two right pointing distractor arrows, subtending a visual angle of 2.80° horizontally and 3.50° vertically. Distractor arrows were presented along the horizontal midline of the screen and at a distance of 4.8° (centre to centre) from the central target location. On half of the trials, the direction of the distractor arrows was the same as that of the target (compatible trials) whereas, on the other half of the trials, the direction of the distractor arrows was opposite to the target direction (incompatible trials).


Reduced distractibility in a remote culture.

de Fockert JW, Caparos S, Linnell KJ, Davidoff J - PLoS ONE (2011)

Examples of the stimulus displays for each condition of perceptual load in Experiment 1.Top left and bottom right panels are compatible displays, top right and bottom left panels are incompatible displays. Images not to scale.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3198475&req=5

pone-0026337-g001: Examples of the stimulus displays for each condition of perceptual load in Experiment 1.Top left and bottom right panels are compatible displays, top right and bottom left panels are incompatible displays. Images not to scale.
Mentions: See Figure 1 for example stimuli. Each stimulus display consisted of black arrow stimuli presented on a white ground. A target arrow subtending a visual angle of 1.40° horizontally and 1.75° vertically and pointing either to the left or the right was equally likely to appear in each of three possible positions, arranged either at fixation or 2.40° vertically above or below it. To manipulate perceptual load, the left or right pointing target arrow could either appear on its own (set size 1), or with one (set size 2), two (set size 3), or three (set size 4) additional non-targets. Non-targets were the same size as target arrows but pointed either up or down and could occupy any one of the three possible target positions not occupied on any trial by the target arrow, as well as two additional positions above and below these positions. Non-target and target arrows always occupied adjacent positions. Each display also contained two left or two right pointing distractor arrows, subtending a visual angle of 2.80° horizontally and 3.50° vertically. Distractor arrows were presented along the horizontal midline of the screen and at a distance of 4.8° (centre to centre) from the central target location. On half of the trials, the direction of the distractor arrows was the same as that of the target (compatible trials) whereas, on the other half of the trials, the direction of the distractor arrows was opposite to the target direction (incompatible trials).

Bottom Line: However, the Himba showed a marked reduction in overall flanker interference compared to Westerners.The smaller interference effect in the Himba occurred despite their overall slower performance than Westerners, and was evident even at a low level of perceptual load of the displays.We argue that the reduced distractibility in the Himba is clearly consistent with their tendency to prioritize the analysis of local details in visual processing.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, United Kingdom. j.de-fockert@gold.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Background: In visual processing, there are marked cultural differences in the tendency to adopt either a global or local processing style. A remote culture (the Himba) has recently been reported to have a greater local bias in visual processing than Westerners. Here we give the first evidence that a greater, and remarkable, attentional selectivity provides the basis for this local bias.

Methodology/principal findings: In Experiment 1, Eriksen-type flanker interference was measured in the Himba and in Western controls. In both groups, responses to the direction of a task-relevant target arrow were affected by the compatibility of task-irrelevant distractor arrows. However, the Himba showed a marked reduction in overall flanker interference compared to Westerners. The smaller interference effect in the Himba occurred despite their overall slower performance than Westerners, and was evident even at a low level of perceptual load of the displays. In Experiment 2, the attentional selectivity of the Himba was further demonstrated by showing that their attention was not even captured by a moving singleton distractor.

Conclusions/significance: We argue that the reduced distractibility in the Himba is clearly consistent with their tendency to prioritize the analysis of local details in visual processing.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus