The Influence of Culture on the Viewing of Western and East Asian Paintings

Trawinski, Tobiasz, Zang, Chuanli orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9573-4968, Liversedge, Simon Paul orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8579-8546, Ge, Yao and Donnelly, Nick (2021) The Influence of Culture on the Viewing of Western and East Asian Paintings. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts . ISSN 1931-3896

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The influence of British and Chinese culture on the viewing of paintings from Western and East Asian traditions was explored in an old/new discrimination task. Accuracy data were considered alongside signal detection measures of sensitivity and bias. The results showed participant culture and painting tradition interacted but only with respect to response bias and not sensitivity. Eye movements were also recorded during encoding and discrimination. Paintings were split into regions of interest defined by faces, or the theme and context in order to analyse the eye movement data. With respect to the eye movement data, the results showed that a match between participant culture and painting tradition increased the viewing
of faces in paintings at the expense of the viewing of other locations, an effect interpreted as a manifestation of the Other Race Effect on the viewing of paintings. There was, however, no evidence of broader influence of culture on the eye movements made to paintings as might be expected if culture influenced the allocation of attention more generally. Taken together, these findings suggest culture influences the viewing of paintings but only in response to challenges to the encoding of faces.

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