Do Local and Global Perceptual Biases Tell Us Anything About Local and Global Selective Attention?

Serge Caparos*, Karina J. Linnell, Andrew J. Bremner, Jan W. de Fockert, Jules Davidoff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Local, as opposed to global, perceptual bias has been linked to a lesser ability to attend globally. We examined this proposed link in Himba observers, members of a remote Namibian population who have demonstrated a strong local bias compared with British observers. If local perceptual bias is related to a lesser ability to attend globally, Himba observers, relative to British observers, should be less distracted by global information when performing a local-selection task but more distracted by local information when performing a global-selection task. However, Himba observers performed better than British observers did on both a local-selection task and a global-selection task (both of which used local/global hierarchical figures as stimuli), which suggests that they possessed greater control over attentional selection in response to task demands. We conclude that local and global perceptual biases must be distinguished from local and global selective attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-212
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • cross-cultural differences
  • perceptual style
  • spatial perception
  • visual attention
  • visual perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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