Culture modulates implicit ownership-induced self-bias in memory

Sparks, Samuel, Cunningham, Sheila J. and Kritikos, Ada (2016) Culture modulates implicit ownership-induced self-bias in memory. Cognition, 153 89-98. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2016.05.003

Author Sparks, Samuel
Cunningham, Sheila J.
Kritikos, Ada
Title Culture modulates implicit ownership-induced self-bias in memory
Journal name Cognition   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1873-7838
Publication date 2016-08-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.cognition.2016.05.003
Open Access Status Other
Volume 153
Start page 89
End page 98
Total pages 10
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 1203 Language and Linguistics
3205 Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
3204 Developmental and Educational Psychology
3310 Linguistics and Language
2805 Cognitive Neuroscience
Abstract The relation of incoming stimuli to the self implicitly determines the allocation of cognitive resources. Cultural variations in the self-concept shape cognition, but the extent is unclear because the majority of studies sample only Western participants. We report cultural differences (Asian versus Western) in ownership-induced self-bias in recognition memory for objects. In two experiments, participants allocated a series of images depicting household objects to self-owned or other-owned virtual baskets based on colour cues before completing a surprise recognition memory test for the objects. The ‘other’ was either a stranger or a close other. In both experiments, Western participants showed greater recognition memory accuracy for self-owned compared with other-owned objects, consistent with an independent self-construal. In Experiment 1, which required minimal attention to the owned objects, Asian participants showed no such ownership-related bias in recognition accuracy. In Experiment 2, which required attention to owned objects to move them along the screen, Asian participants again showed no overall memory advantage for self-owned items and actually exhibited higher recognition accuracy for mother-owned than self-owned objects, reversing the pattern observed for Westerners. This is consistent with an interdependent self-construal which is sensitive to the particular relationship between the self and other. Overall, our results suggest that the self acts as an organising principle for allocating cognitive resources, but that the way it is constructed depends upon cultural experience. Additionally, the manifestation of these cultural differences in self-representation depends on the allocation of attentional resources to self- and other-associated stimuli.
Keyword Self
Cross cultural differences
Implicit memory
Individual differences
Self reference effect
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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