National Cultures

Culture and Perception (07-30-20)

Mavridis and colleagues’ work adds to the research indicating that our culture influences our perception of the world around us.  The investigators report that “Human perception differs profoundly between individuals from different cultures. . . . we investigated the development of context-sensitive attention (the relative focus on context elements of a visual scene) in a large sample . . . of 5- to 15-year-olds and young adults from rural and urban Brazil, namely from agricultural villages in the Amazon region and the city of São Paulo. . . .

Cross Cultural Music (04-21-20)

Beier and colleagues researched how culture influences responses to music.  They report on “measure[ing] chill responses, sudden increases in emotional arousal, through self-report and skin conductance measures. Excerpts of Western classical, traditional Chinese, and Hindustani classical music were presented to 3 groups of participants, each familiar with one of these styles. Participants felt a similar number of chills to both familiar and unfamiliar musical styles, but significantly fewer chills to scrambled music, which acted as a control.

Cultural Variations in Visual Environments (02-14-20)

Kuwabara, Alonso, and Ayala studied perception across cultures.  As they report “Previous studies investigating cultural differences in attention and perception have shown that individuals from Western countries (e.g., the U.S.) perceive more analytically [in a piecemeal fashion, with special attention to focal elements] whereas individuals from East Asian countries (e.g., Japan) perceive more holistically (e.g., Nisbett & Miyamoto, 2005). These differences have been shown in children as young as three years old (Kuwabara & Smith, 2016). . . .

Emotions - Worldwide Variations (01-06-20)

Researchers have learned more about language-related variations in emotional experiences; since the forms of physical environments influence moods, this work is relevant to designers. Investigators report in an article published in Sciencethat “Psychology researchers . . . studied [2,500] languages around the world and found that the way humans conceptualize emotions like anger, fear, joy and sadness may differ across speakers of different languages. . . . languages describe emotions differently across the globe.

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