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

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Abstract

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. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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Caparos, S., Ahmed, L., Bremner, A. J., de Fockert, J. W., Linnell, K. J., & Davidoff, J. (2012). Exposure to an urban environment alters the local bias of a remote culture. Cognition, 122(1), 80–85. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2011.08.013

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