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PLOS ONE  2014 

Lost in the Forest, Stuck in the Trees: Dispositional Global/Local Bias Is Resistant to Exposure to High and Low Spatial Frequencies

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098625

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Visual stimuli can be perceived at a broad, “global” level, or at a more focused, “local” level. While research has shown that many individuals demonstrate a preference for global information, there are large individual differences in the degree of global/local bias, such that some individuals show a large global bias, some show a large local bias, and others show no bias. The main purpose of the current study was to examine whether these dispositional differences in global/local bias could be altered through various manipulations of high/low spatial frequency. Through 5 experiments, we examined various measures of dispositional global/local bias and whether performance on these measures could be altered by manipulating previous exposure to high or low spatial frequency information (with high/low spatial frequency faces, gratings, and Navon letters). Ultimately, there was little evidence of change from pre-to-post manipulation on the dispositional measures, and dispositional global/local bias was highly reliable pre- to post-manipulation. The results provide evidence that individual differences in global/local bias or preference are relatively resistant to exposure to spatial frequency information, and suggest that the processing mechanisms underlying high/low spatial frequency use and global/local bias may be more independent than previously thought.


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