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

Caparos, Serge and Ahmed, Lubna and Bremner, Andrew J and de Fockert, Jan W and Linnell, Karina J and Davidoff, Jules (2012) Exposure to an urban environment alters the local bias of a remote culture. Cognition, 122 (1). pp. 80-85. ISSN 0010-0277

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2011.08.013


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.

Item Type: Journal Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Visual perception; Cross-cultural differences; Environmental effects; Perceptual style; Social organisation
Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences > 302 Social interaction
300 Social sciences > 307 Communities
School/Department: School of Management and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Frank Quick
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2012 15:29
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2012 15:29
URI: http://research.stmarys.ac.uk/id/eprint/292


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