Bicultural Minds: A Cultural Priming Approach to the Self-Bias Effect

Mengyin Jiang*, Jie Sui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Recent research has discovered a robust bias towards the processing of self-relevant information in perceptual matching. Self-associated stimuli are processed faster and more accurately than other-associated stimuli. Priming of independent or interdependent self-construal can dynamically modulate self-biases in high-level cognitive tasks. This study explored whether priming of independent/interdependent mindsets can modulate the self-bias effect in perceptual matching. In two experiments, British participants performed a priming task (Experiment 1 using a word-search task—an implicit priming approach, Experiment 2 with a reflective thinking task—an explicit priming method) immediately followed by a perceptual matching task, where they first learned to associate geometric shapes with labels (e.g., circle is you, square is friend, triangle is stranger) and then made judgments on whether shape-label pairs displayed on-screen were the correct associations or not. The analysis in Experiment 1 revealed that priming the interdependent self-construal led to a reduced self-bias effect in perceptual matching in participants who had low bias compared to those with high bias in the neutral/non-priming condition. In contrast, priming the independent self-construal did not modulate the self-bias in perceptual matching. The effects were replicated in Experiment 2. The results indicate that the self is a dynamic concept that can modulate perceptual processing by accessing different cultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Number of pages16
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation, grant number 2020TQ0174, and the European Research Council, grant number ERC-2012-ADG_20120411.

Acknowledgments: We thank the late Glyn Humphreys who supervised this study as part of a larger PhD project.

Data Availability Statement

The following supporting information can be downloaded at: https: //


  • Culture
  • Independent self-construal
  • Interdependent self-construal
  • Perceptual matching
  • Priming
  • Self-bias


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