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Toshie Imada, Stephanie M. Carlson and Shoji Itakura East–West cultural differences in context-sensitivity are evident in early childhood Developmental Science 16

Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/desc.12016

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Accumulating evidence suggests that North Americans tend to focus on central objects whereas East Asians tend to pay more attention to contextual information in a visual scene. The present study examined children in the United States and Japan to investigate the developmental pattern in context-sensitivity and its relation to executive function. The study found that context-sensitivity increased with age across cultures. Nevertheless, Japanese children showed significantly greater context-sensitivity than American children. Also, context-sensitivity fully mediated the cultural difference in a set-shifting executive function task, which might help explain past findings that East Asian children outperformed their American counterparts on executive function.

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