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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

Results for Experiment 1.Left panels present the data from the long exposure duration condition, right panels present the data from the brief exposure duration condition. (A) Overall mean reaction time and error rate for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. Error bars represent standard error. Percentage values are overall error rates. (B) Mean distractor compatibility effects (reaction time) for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. *, p<.05; **, p<.01; ***, p<.001. Error bars represent standard error. (C) Mean distractor compatibility effects (inverse efficiency scores) for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. *, p<.05; **, p<.01; ***, p<.001. Error bars represent standard error.
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pone-0026337-g002: Results for Experiment 1.Left panels present the data from the long exposure duration condition, right panels present the data from the brief exposure duration condition. (A) Overall mean reaction time and error rate for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. Error bars represent standard error. Percentage values are overall error rates. (B) Mean distractor compatibility effects (reaction time) for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. *, p<.05; **, p<.01; ***, p<.001. Error bars represent standard error. (C) Mean distractor compatibility effects (inverse efficiency scores) for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. *, p<.05; **, p<.01; ***, p<.001. Error bars represent standard error.

Mentions: Figure 2A presents the mean correct reaction time and error rates for Himba and Western participants in the long and brief exposure durations as a function of set size. Figure 2B and Table 1 present the mean distractor compatibility effects. In the brief exposure condition, there were signs of a speed-accuracy trade-off, with slower and more accurate responses in the Himba, and faster and less accurate responses in the Westerners (right hand panel of Figure 2A). To exclude the effect of any speed-accuracy trade-offs from our analysis, we computed the inverse efficiency for each condition for all participants, by dividing mean correct reaction time by the proportion of correct responses for that condition [16], [17]. We computed compatibility effects as a function of perceptual load for each participant, by subtracting the compatible inverse efficiency from the incompatible inverse efficiency at each set size (see Figure 2C). These compatibility effects were entered in a 2×2×4 mixed Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), with culture (Western, Himba) and exposure duration (long, brief) as the between subjects factors, and perceptual load (set size 1, set size 2, set size 3, set size 4) as a within-subject factor. There was a main effect of load, F(2.6,220) = 18.04, MSe = 2087.08, p<.001, ηp2 = .173 (Greenhouse-Geisser corrected): distractor compatibility effects were reduced in magnitude with increases in set size (set size 1, M = 51 ms; set size 2, M = 31 ms; set size 3, M = 16 ms; set size 4, M = 5 ms); this replicates previous findings of perceptual load on distractor interference [16]. There was a marginally significant interaction between culture and exposure duration, F(1,86) = 3.95, MSe = 3252.43, p = .05, ηp2 = .044. In Westerners, compatibility effects were greater in the long compared to the brief presentation condition (M = 50 ms and M = 29 ms, respectively). No such difference occurred in the Himba compatibility effects (M = 11 ms and M = 14 ms, for long and brief durations, respectively). Crucially, there was a significant effect of culture, F(1,86) = 17.87, MSe = 3252.43, p<.001, ηp2 = .172: the overall compatibility effect was substantially greater in the Westerners (M = 39 ms) than the Himba (M = 13 ms). No other effects were significant. Similar separate analyses on latencies and error rates (rather than inverse efficiency scores) produced the same key result of significantly reduced compatibility effects in the Himba compared to Westerners.


Reduced distractibility in a remote culture.

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

Results for Experiment 1.Left panels present the data from the long exposure duration condition, right panels present the data from the brief exposure duration condition. (A) Overall mean reaction time and error rate for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. Error bars represent standard error. Percentage values are overall error rates. (B) Mean distractor compatibility effects (reaction time) for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. *, p<.05; **, p<.01; ***, p<.001. Error bars represent standard error. (C) Mean distractor compatibility effects (inverse efficiency scores) for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. *, p<.05; **, p<.01; ***, p<.001. Error bars represent standard error.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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pone-0026337-g002: Results for Experiment 1.Left panels present the data from the long exposure duration condition, right panels present the data from the brief exposure duration condition. (A) Overall mean reaction time and error rate for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. Error bars represent standard error. Percentage values are overall error rates. (B) Mean distractor compatibility effects (reaction time) for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. *, p<.05; **, p<.01; ***, p<.001. Error bars represent standard error. (C) Mean distractor compatibility effects (inverse efficiency scores) for Westerners and Himba as a function of set size and exposure duration. *, p<.05; **, p<.01; ***, p<.001. Error bars represent standard error.
Mentions: Figure 2A presents the mean correct reaction time and error rates for Himba and Western participants in the long and brief exposure durations as a function of set size. Figure 2B and Table 1 present the mean distractor compatibility effects. In the brief exposure condition, there were signs of a speed-accuracy trade-off, with slower and more accurate responses in the Himba, and faster and less accurate responses in the Westerners (right hand panel of Figure 2A). To exclude the effect of any speed-accuracy trade-offs from our analysis, we computed the inverse efficiency for each condition for all participants, by dividing mean correct reaction time by the proportion of correct responses for that condition [16], [17]. We computed compatibility effects as a function of perceptual load for each participant, by subtracting the compatible inverse efficiency from the incompatible inverse efficiency at each set size (see Figure 2C). These compatibility effects were entered in a 2×2×4 mixed Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), with culture (Western, Himba) and exposure duration (long, brief) as the between subjects factors, and perceptual load (set size 1, set size 2, set size 3, set size 4) as a within-subject factor. There was a main effect of load, F(2.6,220) = 18.04, MSe = 2087.08, p<.001, ηp2 = .173 (Greenhouse-Geisser corrected): distractor compatibility effects were reduced in magnitude with increases in set size (set size 1, M = 51 ms; set size 2, M = 31 ms; set size 3, M = 16 ms; set size 4, M = 5 ms); this replicates previous findings of perceptual load on distractor interference [16]. There was a marginally significant interaction between culture and exposure duration, F(1,86) = 3.95, MSe = 3252.43, p = .05, ηp2 = .044. In Westerners, compatibility effects were greater in the long compared to the brief presentation condition (M = 50 ms and M = 29 ms, respectively). No such difference occurred in the Himba compatibility effects (M = 11 ms and M = 14 ms, for long and brief durations, respectively). Crucially, there was a significant effect of culture, F(1,86) = 17.87, MSe = 3252.43, p<.001, ηp2 = .172: the overall compatibility effect was substantially greater in the Westerners (M = 39 ms) than the Himba (M = 13 ms). No other effects were significant. Similar separate analyses on latencies and error rates (rather than inverse efficiency scores) produced the same key result of significantly reduced compatibility effects in the Himba compared to Westerners.

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