Global precedence effect in children with and without the use of complex instructions


The Global Precedence Effect (GPE) describes a visual phenomenon in which adults are biased to perceive the global or holistic aspect of an image first before processing local information (Navon, 1977). Developmental research shows evidence of a local bias during early childhood (Poirel et al. 2014) that becomes global (Dukette & Stiles,1996; Kimchi et al. 2005) with age, through research disagrees on when this occurs (Hupp & Souther, 2014; Kramer et al.; Poirel et al., 2014; Scherf et al. 2009). Findings suggest that experimental factors such as task and stimuli manipulations may lead to these differing conclusions. The current study investigates the GPE in 4-year-olds, and investigates whether an instructional manipulation can influence the emergence of the effect. Four-year-olds were shown pairs of global shapes made up of local shapes. Pairs could be identical, or differ on either the global or local level. During Phase I, children were verbally asked if image pairs were “exactly the same in every way” or “different in any way”. In Phase II, in addition to the verbal prompts, children were shown a visual instructional sequence that explained what “exactly the same” or “different in any way” meant with regards to the local and global differences. Results show that 4-year-olds display a significant bias towards the local level, meaning that they were more likely to notice differences on the local level compared to the global level. After the instructional sequence, children showed less local bias and a higher global bias. This suggests that instructions, practice, and verbal manipulations may have an impact on the bias children show in GPE tests and that the switchover from local to global biases may occur earlier than the previously suggested age of 6 years.

Vision Sciences Society, Tampa, FL