The local perceptual bias of a non-remote and educated population

Caparos, Serge; Linnell, Karina J and Blanchette, Isabelle. 2020. The local perceptual bias of a non-remote and educated population. Psychological Research, 84(5), pp. 1211-1222. ISSN 0340-0727 [Article]

Caparos Linnell Blanchette 2019 Psychological Research.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

In 1977, Navon argued that perception is biased towards the processing of global as opposed to local visual information (or the forest before the trees) and implicitly assumed this to be true across places and cultures. Previous work with normally developing participants has supported this assumption except in one extremely remote African population. Here we explore local-global perceptual bias in normally developing African participants living much less remotely than the African population tested previously. These participants had access to modern artefacts and education but presented with a local bias on a similarity matching Navon task, contrary to Navon’s assumptions. Nevertheless, the urban and more educated amongst these participants showed a weaker local bias than the rural and less educated participants, suggesting an effect of urbanicity and education in driving differences in perceptual bias. Our findings confirm the impact of experience on perceptual bias and suggest that differences in the impact of education and urbanicity on lifestyles around the world can result in profound differences in perceptual style. In addition, they suggest that local bias is more common than previously thought; a global bias might not be universal after all.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

This research was funded by an Insight Development grant awarded to the first and last authors by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and a project grant awarded to the middle author and her colleagues by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK.

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Psychological Research. The final authenticated version is available online at:


Perceptual bias, Cross-cultural differences, Navon, Local-Global, Urbanicity, Education

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



15 February 2019Accepted
26 February 2019Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 May 2019 09:03

Last Modified:

15 Jun 2021 17:45

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)