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Caroline Blais, Amanda Estéphan, Michael N'Guiamba N'Zie, Marie-Pier Plouffe-Demers, Ye Zhang, Dan Sun, Daniel Fiset; Cultural differences in spatial frequency utilisation do not generalize across various object classes. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):1103. doi: 10.1167/18.10.1103.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Several studies have shown cultural differences in the fixation patterns observed during tasks of different nature, e.g. face identification (Blais et al., 2008; Kelly et al., 2011), race categorization (Blais et al., 2008), and recognition of visually homogeneous objects (Kelly et al., 2010). These differences suggest that Easterners deploy their attention more broadly and rely more on extrafoveal processing than Westerners (Miellet et al., 2013). This finding is in line with a dominant theory in the field suggesting that cultural differences in cognition, attention and perception may be related to social systems (Nisbett & Miyamoto, 2005). Specifically, Easterners, because they have evolved in a more collectivistic system, would deploy their attention more broadly than Westerners, who have evolved in a more individualistic system. However, studies revealing cultural differences in fixation patterns during face processing have been challenged by the findings that two fixations suffice for face recognition (Hsiao & Cottrell, 2008), and that early fixations are not modulated by culture (Or, Peterson & Eckstein, 2015). Since deploying attention over a broader area has been shown to modulate the spatial resolution, directly assessing the spatial frequency (SF) utilisation underlying stimulus recognition would help clarify the impact of culture on perceptual processing. Here, we present a set of four experiments in which the SF used by Easterners and Westerners were measured while they identified faces, discriminated familiar from unfamiliar faces, and categorized object and scenes. The results reveal that Easterners are tuned towards lower SF than Westerners when they identify faces and discriminate familiar from unfamiliar ones (Tardif et al., 2017), but use the same SF to categorize objects and scenes. Together, these results challenge the view that the exposition to different social systems leads to the development of different perceptual strategies generalizable to various object classes.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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