Cultural Cognition: Mouse Tracking Reveals the Impact of Cultural Differences on Taxonomic and Thematic Relations

Paola Ibarra and Dr. Yu-Cheng Lin, Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley, 1201 W University Dr, Edinburg, TX 78539.

The purpose of the project is to explore human cognition, investigating how semantic or conceptual relations about words and objects are processed and represented in our minds. This proposed study aims to understand how cultural differences among White Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and East Asians, affect their taxonomic versus thematic relations. A recent review by Mirman, Landrigan, and Britt (2017) classified semantic or conceptual knowledge into two dimensions: similarity relations based on shared features (e.g., cow – chicken), which are called “taxonomic” relations, and contiguity relations based on co-occurrence in events or scenarios (e.g., cow – grass), which are called “thematic” relations. The taxonomic and thematic relations have been associated with East-West differences in a variety of different cognitive tasks. Cross-cultural studies have demonstrated that Easterners tend to categorize the world around thematic relations, whereas Westerners tend to categorize the world by taxonomic relation (Nisbett, Peng, Choi, & Norenzayan, 2001). However, the current studies studying taxonomic and thematic relations have exclusively relied on White Americans or Asians; relatively very few studies investigate cognitive mechanisms underlying taxonomic and thematic relations in Hispanic Americans. The current project will employ an innovative computer mouse-tracking task that is a well-established research tool for studying word recognition of Asian, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and White Americans in my faculty mentor’s lab. In the mouse-tracking task, participants will hear a target word via headphones and then mouse click on the matching picture on the screen. All experimental stimuli will be randomly presented to participants by using MouseTracker (Freeman & Ambady, 2010) installed on a desktop computer. After completing data collection, conducting data analyses on hand movement trajectories, response times, and accuracy recorded by the mouse-tracking task. The auditory and visual stimuli will be selected from my faculty mentor’s previous experiment on spoken word recognition.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Paola Ibarra

Institution: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 11
Date/Time: Wed 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 7067