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26-02-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2020

Psychological Research 5/2020

The local perceptual bias of a non-remote and educated population

Psychological Research > Uitgave 5/2020
Serge Caparos, Karina J. Linnell, Isabelle Blanchette
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00426-019-01158-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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In 1977, Navon argued that perception is biased towards the processing of global as opposed to local visual information (or the forest before the trees) and implicitly assumed this to be true across places and cultures. Previous work with normally developing participants has supported this assumption except in one extremely remote African population. Here, we explore local–global perceptual bias in normally developing African participants living much less remotely than the African population tested previously. These participants had access to modern artefacts and education but presented with a local bias on a similarity-matching Navon task, contrary to Navon’s assumptions. Nevertheless, the urban and more educated amongst these participants showed a weaker local bias than the rural and less educated participants, suggesting an effect of urbanicity and education in driving differences in perceptual bias. Our findings confirm the impact of experience on perceptual bias and suggest that differences in the impact of education and urbanicity on lifestyles around the world can result in profound differences in perceptual style. In addition, they suggest that local bias is more common than previously thought; a global bias might not be universal after all.

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