Cultural variations in global and local attention and eye-movement patterns during the perception of complex visual scenes: Comparison of Czech and Taiwanese university students



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source PLoS ONE
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords visual perception; eye tracking; cross-cultural differences; experiment
Description Previous research on cross-cultural differences in visual attention has been inconclusive. Some studies have suggested the existence of systematic differences in global and local attention and context sensitivity, while others have produced negative or mixed results. The objective in this study was to examine the similarities and differences in holistic and analytic cognitive styles in a sample of Czech and Taiwanese university students. Two cognitive tasks were conducted: a Compound Figures Test and a free-viewing scene perception task which manipulated several focal objects and measured eye-movement patterns. An analysis of the reaction times in the Compound Figures Test showed no clear differences between either sample. An analysis of eye-movement metrics showed certain differences between the samples. While Czechs tended to focus relatively more on the focal objects measured by the number of fixations, the Taiwanese subjects spent more time fixating on the background. The results were consistent for scenes with one or two focal objects. The results of a correlation analysis of both tasks showed that they were unrelated. These results showed certain differences between the samples in visual perception but were not as systematic as the theory of holistic and analytic cognitive styles would suggest. An alternative model of cross-cultural differences in cognition and perception is discussed.
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