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Meike Ramon, Helen Roger, Junpeng Lao, Shihui Han, Roberto Caldara; Cultural differences in face processing are robust to self-construal priming. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1396. doi: 10.1167/16.12.1396.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Cultural neuroscience has documented numerous differences between Western Caucasian (WCs) and Eastern Asian (EAs) individuals suggesting that culture has wide-ranging effects on various basic and high-level visual and cognitive processes. For instance, WCs and EAs exhibit systematic differences in fixation patterns during the perceptual processing of faces. WC observers deploy more fixations to the eyes and the mouth, as compared to EA observers, who sample information from the nose region relatively more. Self-construal is formed by the cultural environment, with WCs and EAs identifying themselves at large as more individualistic and collectivistic, respectively. Studies of Chinese cohorts suggest that interdependent and independent self-construal priming is efficient in terms of inducing shifts in both basic visual, as well as high level processing, which can be observed at the behavioral and neural level. However, whether self-construal priming could modulate the eye movement sampling strategies during face recognition remains to be clarified. To address this question, we recorded the eye movements of WC and EA observers subsequent to inter- and independent self-construal priming, while they performed an old/new recognition task of same- and other-race faces. Self-construal priming did not determine subjects' fixation patterns during the perceptual processing of faces, with WCs and EAs persistently deploying their culturally preferred visual sampling strategies. Altogether, our data support the view that individual differences in self-construed identity cannot account for the cultural differences in face processing. More importantly, they question the idea of the individualistic and collectivistic contrast underlying the culture-dependent differences observed for perceptual face processing.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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