Attention allocation is a possible mediator of cultural variations in spontaneous trait and situation inferences: Eye-tracking evidence

Yuki Shimizu*, James S. Uleman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Two studies sought to replicate previous work on cultural differences in the co-occurrence of spontaneous trait (STI) and situation (SSI) inferences, and to examine possible mediators at the individual level. Both studies replicated previous findings of cultural differences. European Americans made more STIs relative to SSIs than did Asian American or Japanese participants. However Experiment 1 found no evidence from the Analysis-Holism Scale (AHS) that self-reported cognitive style mediates this effect, although expected cultural differences on the AHS did occur. Experiment 2 found strong evidence that a bias in overt visual attention to actors relative to situations at encoding, measured with an eye-tracker, does predict a bias in STIs relative to SSIs. It also showed expected cultural differences in overt visual attention bias to actors relative to situations. These divergent results should sharpen conceptions of the role of holistic versus analytic cognition in the cross-cultural literature. They also provide the first evidence of possible mediators of STI and SSI within the false recognition paradigm. The role of visual attention in the production of perceptual and cognitive inferences is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104115
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume94
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May

Keywords

  • Cultural differences
  • Eye tracking
  • Holistic versus analytic styles
  • Japanese and Americans
  • Overt visual attention
  • Spontaneous trait and situation inferences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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