Masuda, T. (増田貴彦), Ishii, K. (石井敬子), & Kimura, J. (2016). When does the culturally dominant mode of attention appear or disappear? Comparing patterns of eye movement during the visual flicker task between European Canadians and Japanese. 文化的に優勢な注意様式はどんな時に生じ、または生じないか？ カナダ人と日本人における視覚的フリッカー課題間の眼球運動パターンの比較 Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. doi: 10.1177/0022022116653830
Previous findings in culture and attention reported mixed results. While some studies demonstrated systematic cultural variations in patterns of eye movement, other studies reported that the magnitude of the effects is minor. To further scrutinize when cultural variations in attention are attenuated or enhanced, we conducted a new series of visual flicker tasks while making changes in focal figures more salient than those in the background. European Canadian and Japanese participants searched for a change in a pair of quickly alternating still images. The task consisted of two parts: In the majority of trials, we set a change in part of either the focal object or the background (change trials), while in some trials, a pair of identical images was presented unbeknownst to participants (no-change trials), which resulted in forcing participants to search for a nonexistent change for 1 min. We then measured patterns of eye movement during each type of trial. The results of the change trials indicated that there were no cultural variations in change detection styles, nor were there cultural variations in eye movement patterns except for the total fixation duration, suggesting in general that both groups exhibited similar bottom-up patterns of attention. However, in the no-change trials, there were substantial cultural variations in eye movement patterns: European Canadians substantially attended to the focal figures longer and more frequently than to the backgrounds, whereas Japanese equally allocated their attention to both the focal figures and the backgrounds, suggesting that culturally unique top-down patterns were more evident.