Effect of contextual factors on patterns of eye-movement: Comparing sensitivity to background information between Japanese and Westerners

Masuda, T.; Akase, M.; Radford, M.H.B.; Wang, H.

The Japanese journal of psychology 79(1): 35-43


DOI: 10.4992/jjpsy.79.35
Accession: 068501819

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Recent cross-cultural research suggests that East Asians are more likely than their Western counterparts to be sensitive to contextual information. In this experimental research study, we presented a blinking circle situated at the center of the computer screen for 30s. Both Japanese and Western participants were alternately engaged in two different tasks: (a) A single target circle, and (b) a target circle with four surrounding circles. In either case, they were asked to focus only on the target circle while ignoring the surrounding information. The results indicated that, even though the Japanese attempted to focus on the center circle, they failed to focus only on the center circle. Their number of fixations and variances from the center to each fixation points were significantly larger than found with the Westerners. This effect was stronger when four circles surrounded the target circle compared to a single circle. These findings suggest that cultural influences on basic psychological processes may be very deep.