Reduced Distractibility in a Remote Culture

De Fockert, J. W.; Caparos, S.; Linnell, Karina J and Davidoff, Jules B.. 2011. Reduced Distractibility in a Remote Culture. PLoS ONE, 6(10), e26337. ISSN 1932-6203 [Article]

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Abstract or Description


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.

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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19 October 2011Published

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Date Deposited:

06 Jul 2012 12:38

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2021 15:04

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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