Cross cultural differences in unconscious knowledge

Kiyokawa, Sachiko, Dienes, Zoltán, Tanaka, Daisuke, Yamada, Ayumi and Crowe, Louise (2012) Cross cultural differences in unconscious knowledge. Cognition, 124 (1). pp. 16-24. ISSN 1873-7838

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Previous studies have indicated cross cultural differences in conscious processes, such that Asians have a global preference and Westerners a more analytical one. We investigated whether these biases also apply to unconscious knowledge. In Experiment 1, Japanese and UK participants memorized strings of large (global) letters made out of small (local) letters. The strings constituted one sequence of letters at a global level and a different sequence at a local level. Implicit learning occurred at the global and not the local level for the Japanese but equally at both levels for the English. In Experiment 2, the Japanese preference for global over local processing persisted even when structure existed only at the local but not global level. In Experiment 3, Japanese and UK participants were asked to attend to just one of the levels, global or local. Now the cultural groups performed similarly, indicating that the bias largely reflects preference rather than ability (although the data left room for residual ability differences). In Experiment 4, the greater global advantage of Japanese rather English was confirmed for strings made of Japanese kana rather than Roman letters. That is, the cultural difference is not due to familiarity of the sequence elements. In sum, we show for the first time that cultural biases strongly affect the type of unconscious knowledge people acquire

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2012 19:16
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2013 12:04
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