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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
Number of pages6
JournalCognition
Volume122
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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