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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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Results for Experiment 2.Reaction times (left panel) and error rates (right panel) are presented for Westerners and Himba as a function of singleton type and presence. Error bars represent standard error.
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pone-0026337-g004: Results for Experiment 2.Reaction times (left panel) and error rates (right panel) are presented for Westerners and Himba as a function of singleton type and presence. Error bars represent standard error.

Mentions: Figure 4 presents the mean correct reaction time and error rates for Himba and Western participants as a function of singleton presence and singleton type. In the error rates in Experiment 2, there was only a main effect of culture, and no other significant effects. There was therefore no risk of any speed-accuracy trade-off in the data, and we therefore analysed the reaction times and error rates in the conventional way. Reaction times were entered in a 2×2×2 mixed ANOVA, with culture (Western, Himba) as a between-subjects factor, and singleton presence (present, absent) and stimulus category (shape, cow) as within-subjects factors. There was a main effect of culture, F(1,51) = 4.64, MSe = 75063.63, p<.05, ηp2 = .083: reaction times were faster in Westerners (M = 526 ms) compared to the Himba (M = 607 ms). The main effect of singleton presence was also significant, F(1,51) = 11.92, MSe = 1541.79, p<.01, ηp2 = .189). Reaction times were slower in singleton present (M = 576 ms) compared to singleton absent conditions (M = 557 ms). The main effect of stimulus category was also significant, F(1,51) = 14.83, MSe = 17177.99, p<.001, ηp2 = .225). Reaction times were slower in cow (M = 601 ms) compared to shape conditions (M = 532 ms). Importantly, the only significant interaction was between culture and singleton presence, F(1,51) = 5.07, MSe = 1541.79, p<.05, ηp2 = .090: the singleton capture effect was substantially greater in the Westerners (M = 31 ms) than the Himba (M = 7 ms). In fact, whereas the motion singleton reliably captured attention in Westerners in both the shape condition (t(24) = 2.64, SEM = 12.32, p<.025, two-tailed) and the cow condition (t(24) = 2.82, SEM = 10.30, p<.01, two-tailed), the singleton capture effect was not different from zero in the Himba in either the shape condition (t(27) = .65, p>.5) or the cow condition (t(27) = .49, p>.6). No other interactions were significant (all Fs<1).


Reduced distractibility in a remote culture.

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

Results for Experiment 2.Reaction times (left panel) and error rates (right panel) are presented for Westerners and Himba as a function of singleton type and presence. Error bars represent standard error.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0026337-g004: Results for Experiment 2.Reaction times (left panel) and error rates (right panel) are presented for Westerners and Himba as a function of singleton type and presence. Error bars represent standard error.
Mentions: Figure 4 presents the mean correct reaction time and error rates for Himba and Western participants as a function of singleton presence and singleton type. In the error rates in Experiment 2, there was only a main effect of culture, and no other significant effects. There was therefore no risk of any speed-accuracy trade-off in the data, and we therefore analysed the reaction times and error rates in the conventional way. Reaction times were entered in a 2×2×2 mixed ANOVA, with culture (Western, Himba) as a between-subjects factor, and singleton presence (present, absent) and stimulus category (shape, cow) as within-subjects factors. There was a main effect of culture, F(1,51) = 4.64, MSe = 75063.63, p<.05, ηp2 = .083: reaction times were faster in Westerners (M = 526 ms) compared to the Himba (M = 607 ms). The main effect of singleton presence was also significant, F(1,51) = 11.92, MSe = 1541.79, p<.01, ηp2 = .189). Reaction times were slower in singleton present (M = 576 ms) compared to singleton absent conditions (M = 557 ms). The main effect of stimulus category was also significant, F(1,51) = 14.83, MSe = 17177.99, p<.001, ηp2 = .225). Reaction times were slower in cow (M = 601 ms) compared to shape conditions (M = 532 ms). Importantly, the only significant interaction was between culture and singleton presence, F(1,51) = 5.07, MSe = 1541.79, p<.05, ηp2 = .090: the singleton capture effect was substantially greater in the Westerners (M = 31 ms) than the Himba (M = 7 ms). In fact, whereas the motion singleton reliably captured attention in Westerners in both the shape condition (t(24) = 2.64, SEM = 12.32, p<.025, two-tailed) and the cow condition (t(24) = 2.82, SEM = 10.30, p<.01, two-tailed), the singleton capture effect was not different from zero in the Himba in either the shape condition (t(27) = .65, p>.5) or the cow condition (t(27) = .49, p>.6). No other interactions were significant (all Fs<1).

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