The Modulation of Cultural Priming on the Self-Bias Effects in Perceptual Matching


Recent research has discovered a bias towards the processing of self-relevant information in perceptual matching tasks. Judgments for self-associated stimuli are processed faster and more accurately than judgements for friend or stranger associated stimuli. It is also well known that priming of independent or interdependent self-construals successfully modulate self-biases in high-level tasks such as self-referential memory. Here we examined whether culture can shape the self-prioritization effects on perceptual matching via two experiments. In each experiment participants first performed a cultural priming task (Experiment 1, implicit cultural priming with a word search task; Experiment 2, explicit cultural priming using the Similarities and Differences between Family and Friends (SDFF) task), and then immediately performed a perceptual matching task, where they learned to associate geometric shapes with labels (e.g. circle represent friend, square is stranger, triangle is self), and made judgements on whether the shape-label pairs displayed on-screen were the correct associations or not. Findings from Experiment 1 showed a reduced self-bias effect in perceptual matching after priming the interdependent self-construal in participants who had low self bias compared to those with high self-bias. In contrast, priming the independent self-construal did not modulate the self-bias in perceptual matching. The effects were replicated in Experiment 2 with an explicit priming method. The results indicated that the self is a dynamic concept that can modulate perceptual processing by temporary access to other cultural contexts.

Author Information
Mengyin Jiang, Tsinghua University, China
Jie Sui, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2021
Stream: General Psychology

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