Perceptual similarity was examined in a remote culture (Himba) and compared
to that of Western observers. Similarity was assessed in a relative size
judgement task and in an odd-one-out detection task. Thus, we examined the
effects of culture on what might be considered low-level visual abilities.
For both tasks, we found that performance was affected by stimuli that were
culturally relevant to the tasks. In Experiment 1, we showed that the use of
cow stimuli instead of the standard circles increased illusory strength for
the Himba. In Experiment 2, only the Himba showed more accurate detection
based on category differences in the displays. It is argued that that
Categorical Perception in Experiment 2, based on its presumed Whorfian
origins, was the more reliable procedure for examining the effects of
culture on perception.
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