Cultural differences in performance on Eriksen's flanker task
Eriksen's zoom model of attention implies a trade-off between the breadth and resolution of representations of information. Following this perspective, we used Eriksen's flanker task to investigate culture's influence on attentional allocation and attentional resolution. In Experiment1, the spatial distance of the flankers was varied to test whether people from Eastern cultures (here, Turks) experienced more interference than people from Western cultures (here, Americans) when flankers were further from the target. In Experiment2, the contrast of the flankers was varied. The pattern of results shows that congruency of the flankers (Experiment1) as well as the degree of contrast of the flankers compared with the target (Experiment2) interact with participants' cultural background to differentially influence accuracy or reaction times. In addition, we used evidence accumulation modeling to jointly consider measures of speed and accuracy. Results indicate that to make decisions in the Eriksen flanker task, Turks both accumulate evidence faster and require more evidence than Americans do. These cultural differences in visual attention and decision-making have implications for a wide variety of cognitive processes.