Research Design Connection: Cultural Variations in Visual Environments

Kuwabara, Alonso, and Ayala studied perception across cultures. As they report “Previous studies investigating cultural differences in attention and perception have shown that individuals from Western countries (e.g., the U.S.) perceive more analytically [in a piecemeal fashion, with special attention to focal elements] whereas individuals from East Asian countries (e.g., Japan) perceive more holistically (e.g., Nisbett & Miyamoto, 2005). These differences have been shown in children as young as three years old (Kuwabara & Smith, 2016)…we focused on one of such visual environments that young children are exposed to regularly…37 U.S. picture books and 37 Japanese picture books were coded for visual contents – how visually crowded…the U.S. picture books are more visually crowded than the Japanese books…[and] contained more objects than the Japanese books as expected, which reflect well with the cultural differences in attention observed in young children in previous studies.” Megumi Kuwabara, Jannette Alonso, and Darlene Ayala. …