The Effect of Culture on Load and Distractor Processing
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The present study examined perceptual load capacity as a potential mechanism that may contribute to visual attention differences between East Asians and North Americans. Participants identified targets in a low or high load display while ignoring distractors that are compatible or incompatible with the target. Previous research suggests North Americans do not experience reaction time difference between compatible and incompatible trials under high load because high load uses up perceptual load capacity before distractors can be processed. If East Asians possess a higher perceptual load capacity than North Americans, they should be slower than North Americans to react in incompatible trials compared to compatible trials under high load. Results revealed that both cultural groups performed similarly, suggesting no cultural difference in perceptual load capacity. Results also revealed that East Asians were significantly slower under high load, but more accurate across all loads, than North Americans. Implications and limitations are discussed.