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Goldsmiths - University of London

Urbanization decreases attentional engagement

Linnell, Karina J; Caparos, Serge; De Fockert, J. W. and Davidoff, Jules B.. 2013. Urbanization decreases attentional engagement. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 39(5), pp. 1232-1247. ISSN 0096-1523 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Exposure to the urban environment has been shown dramatically to increase the tendency to process contextual information. To further our understanding of this effect of urbanization, we compared performance on a local-selection task of a remote people, the Himba, living traditionally or relocated to town. We showed that (a) spatial attention was defocused in urbanized Himba but focused in traditional Himba (Experiment 1), despite urbanized Himba performing better on a working memory task (Experiment 3); (b) imposing a cognitive load made attention as defocused in traditional as in urbanized Himba (Experiment 2); and (c) using engaging stimuli/tasks made attention as focused in urbanized Himba, and British, as in traditional Himba (Experiments 4 and 5). We propose that urban environments prioritize exploration at the expense of attentional engagement and cognitive control of attentional selection.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031139

Keywords:

selective attention, engagement, working memory, urbanization, culture

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology
Research Office > REF2014

Dates:

DateEvent
October 2013Published

Item ID:

8618

Date Deposited:

08 Jul 2013 16:12

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 10:09

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/8618
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