Is object saliency perceived different cross‑culturally: a computational modelling study?

Mavritsaki, Eirini and Rentzelas, Panagiotis (2017) Is object saliency perceived different cross‑culturally: a computational modelling study? BMC Neuroscience, 18. p. 60. ISSN 10.1186/s12868-017-0372-1

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Research on cross-cultural differences of visual attention has identified
that cultural membership influence performance in object perception
[1, 2]. Participants with collectivist background focus more on the background
(distractors) and omit the target relevant information while participants
from the individualists’ background tend to attend the target
and omit the background information. Previous modelling work from our
lab [3] predicted that in Visual Search task cultural memberships influences
the performance of the tasks. The results showed that simulated
efficiency of participants from the individualist group is significantly
higher than simulated efficiency from participants from the collectivists
group when the task is to identify a target amongst distractors in a classical
easy visual search. Work in our lab then confirmed these predictions.
Preliminary behavioral data supports the idea that the effect remains
even if the target is more salient than the distractors. This difference is
simulated and explored further by investigating the changes in the effect
for different levels of saliency using the binding Search over Time and
Space (bsSoTS) computational model [4, 5] as predictor of behavior.
bsSoTS is based on integrate-and-fire neurons that are tighter connected
when they encode a specific characteristic of an item presented
in one position on the Visual Field and loosely connected when
they present the same characteristics but items presented in different
positions on the visual field. Moreover, the model incorporates a number
of synaptic currents and processes that allowed us to successfully
simulate the Visual Search experiment [4, 5]. In research, cultural membership
is usually investigated between collectivists (Asian cultures)
and individualists’ groups (Western Europeans cultures) [1, 2]. The
experiments that bsSoTS simulated so far are based on individualists’
groups [4, 5]. To simulate therefore the difference in behavior between
collectivists and individualists, we need to simulate the difference
observed in collectivists cultures. To do that we tested the coupling
between the neurons that encode a specific item presented in one
position on the Visual Field as a saliency parameter. The same parameter
was used in preliminary modelling work in our lab [3].
The results showed that the saliency parameter successfully simulates
the behavioral results. Additionally, further behavioral work is proposed
by investigating the relationship between the different saliency
levels and the observed effect.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Psychology
Depositing User: Eirini Mavritsaki
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2018 08:46
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2018 08:46

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