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Dillon Cornett, Melissa Beck; The Global Precedence Effect and Differences in Political Temperament. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):825. doi: 10.1167/13.9.825.
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Global visual information is generally perceived more readily than local information (Navon, 1977). This global precedence effect (GPE) is affected by attentional set in that it can be reduced with local priming and there are individual differences in the strength of the GPE. For example, people of collectivist religions show larger a GPE than people of individualist religions (Colzato et al, 2010). Individual differences have also been shown on attentional tasks for people of different political affiliations. For example, research using the gaze cuing task (Dodd, Hibbing, & Smith, 2011) and using appetitive and aversive pictures (Dodd et al., 2012) have reported differences between liberals and conservatives. Given that there appear to be differences in visual perception and attentional set for people of different political affiliations, the current study investigated possible differences in the GPE based on political temperament. Participants completed surveys about political affiliation from which they were categorized into one of three categories; Conservatives, Liberals, and Moderates. Participants were then presented with Navon stimuli in which the global and local letters were either congruent or incongruent and reported either the local or global letter. Consistent with the literature, the results from the current study show a GPE where observers were slower to respond and less accurate when asked to report the local level of the stimulus. However, the GPE was the same for Conservatives and Liberals. This suggests that individuals in the extreme ends of the political continuum have similar attentional allocation to global information over local information. Previously found differences between political groups may be due to the social or emotional nature of the stimuli presented in those studies. The results from the current study suggest that, in the absence of social or emotional stimuli, attentional allocation may not differ between liberals and conservatives.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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