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, Karina 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. ISSN 0010-0277 [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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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Research Office > REF2014



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Date Deposited:

06 Jul 2012 12:38

Last Modified:

30 Oct 2017 13:01

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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