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There is evidence for cultural differences in how people respond to basic properties of faces. We examined task switching between two properties of faces, emotion and gender, for individuals drawn from Western (White UK citizens) and Asian (Pakistani) cultures. There were three main results of interest. First, there was a double dissociation between gender and emotion classification across the participant populations - Western participants were faster to make gender than emotion classifications while Asian participants were faster to make emotion than gender classifications. It is argued that the different patterns of results reflect the greater attentional weight given to contrasting face dimensions in the different cultures, and the dependence on using different attributes to make gender discriminations in individuals from varying cultures. Second, Asian participants showed smaller switch costs overall than did White British participants. This result may be attributed to effects of bilingualism in the Asian participants, which results in their having greater executive resources. Third, emotion decisions showed larger switch costs than gender decisions but essentially because emotion decisions benefited from priming on non-switch trials. It is argued that emotion decisions benefit from the activation of a specific processing module across consecutive trials. © 2014 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd with the Asian Association of Social Psychology and the Japanese Group Dynamics Association.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/ajsp.12039

Type

Journal article

Journal

Asian Journal of Social Psychology

Publication Date

01/03/2014

Volume

17

Pages

70 - 80