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Time Course of Cultural Differences in Spatial Frequency Use for Face Identification

By Amanda Estéphan, Daniel Fiset, Camille Saumure, Marie-Pier Plouffe-Demers, Ye Zhang, Dan Sun and Caroline Blais


Abstract Several previous studies of eye movements have put forward that, during face recognition, Easterners spread their attention across a greater part of their visual field than Westerners. Recently, we found that culture’s effect on the perception of faces reaches mechanisms deeper than eye movements, therefore affecting the very nature of information sampled by the visual system: that is, Westerners globally rely more than Easterners on fine-grained visual information (i.e. high spatial frequencies; SFs), whereas Easterners rely more on coarse-grained visual information (i.e. low SFs). These findings suggest that culture influences basic visual processes; however, the temporal onset and dynamics of these culture-specific perceptual differences are still unknown. Here, we investigate the time course of SF use in Western Caucasian (Canadian) and East Asian (Chinese) observers during a face identification task. Firstly, our results confirm that Easterners use relatively lower SFs than Westerners, while the latter use relatively higher SFs. More importantly, our results indicate that these differences arise as early as 34 ms after stimulus onset, and remain stable through time. Our research supports the hypothesis that Westerners and Easterners initially rely on different types of visual information during face processing

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1038/s41598-018-19971-1
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