Cultural orientation of self-bias in perceptual matching

Mengyin Jiang* (Corresponding Author), Shirley K.M. Wong, Harry K.S. Chung, Yang Sun, Janet H. Hsiao, Jie Sui, Glyn W. Humphreys

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Previous research on cross-culture comparisons found that Western cultures tend to value independence and the self is construed as an autonomous individual, while Eastern cultures value interdependence and self-identity is perceived as embedded among friends and family members (Markus and Kitayama, 1991). The present experiment explored these cultural differences in the context of a paradigm developed by Sui et al. (2012), which found a bias toward the processing of self-relevant information using perceptual matching tasks. In this task, each neutral shape (i.e., triangle, circle, square) is associated with a person (i.e., self, friend, stranger), and faster and more accurate responses were found to formerly neutral stimuli tagged to the self compared to stimuli tagged to non-self. With this paradigm, the current study examined cross-cultural differences in the self-bias effect between participants from Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Results demonstrated a reliable self-bias effect across groups consistent with previous studies. Importantly, a variation was identified in a larger self-bias toward stranger-associated stimuli in the United Kingdom participants than the Hong Kong participants. This suggested the cultural modulation of the self-bias effect in perceptual matching.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1469
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Early online date11 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council (ES/K013424/1), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31371017), and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (HKU758412H)


  • cross-culture comparison
  • independent and interdependent
  • self-construal
  • perceptual matching


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