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Trends Cogn Sci. 2005 Oct;9(10):467-73.

The influence of culture: holistic versus analytic perception.

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Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1109, USA.


There is recent evidence that perceptual processes are influenced by culture. Westerners tend to engage in context-independent and analytic perceptual processes by focusing on a salient object independently of its context, whereas Asians tend to engage in context-dependent and holistic perceptual processes by attending to the relationship between the object and the context in which the object is located. Recent research has explored mechanisms underlying such cultural differences, which indicate that participating in different social practices leads to both chronic as well as temporary shifts in perception. These findings establish a dynamic relationship between the cultural context and perceptual processes. We suggest that perception can no longer be regarded as consisting of processes that are universal across all people at all times.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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