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