Exposure to an urban environment alters the local bias of a remote culture

Caparos, S; Ahmed, L; Bremner, Andrew J.; De Fockert, J. W.; Linnell, K. J. and Davidoff, Jules B.. 2012. Exposure to an urban environment alters the local bias of a remote culture. Cognition, 122(1), pp. 80-85. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

There is substantial evidence that populations in the Western world exhibit a local bias compared to East Asian populations that is widely ascribed to a difference between individualistic and collectivist societies. However, we report that traditional Himba – a remote interdependent society – exhibit a strong local bias compared to both Japanese and British participants in the Ebbinghaus illusion and in a similarity-matching task with hierarchical figures. Critically, we measured the effect of exposure to an urban environment on local bias in the Himba. Even a brief exposure to an urban environment caused a shift in processing style: the local bias was reduced in traditional Himba who had visited a local town and even more reduced in urbanised Himba who had moved to that town on a permanent basis. We therefore propose that exposure to an urban environment contributes to the global bias
found in Western and Japanese populations.

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Visual perception, Cross-cultural differences, Environmental effects, Perceptual style, Social organization

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Date Deposited:

15 Apr 2016 11:14

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:17

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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