Cultural differences in perceptual reorganization in US and Pirahã adults

Jennifer M D Yoon, Nathan Witthoft, Jonathan Winawer, Michael C. Frank, Daniel L. Everett, Edward Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Visual illusions and other perceptual phenomena can be used as tools to uncover the otherwise hidden constructive processes that give rise to perception. Although many perceptual processes are assumed to be universal, variable susceptibility to certain illusions and perceptual effects across populations suggests a role for factors that vary culturally. One striking phenomenon is seen with two-tone images-photos reduced to two tones: black and white. Deficient recognition is observed in young children under conditions that trigger automatic recognition in adults. Here we show a similar lack of cue-triggered perceptual reorganization in the Pirahã , a hunter-gatherer tribe with limited exposure to modern visual media, suggesting such recognition is experience- and culture-specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere110225
JournalPloS one
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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