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The Impact of Cultural Background on Structural Figure Perception: Cultural Biases in the Reproduction of the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure

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Visuo-spatial tests are often thought to be less subject to cultural bias than verbal tests. It has, however, been demonstrated that scores obtained, particularly using the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure, vary according to the cultural context. In a previous study, we noted that the socio-cultural environment had an impact on structural figure perception. We compared the techniques used to draw the figures by school-children in France from different cultural backgrounds, with the hypothesis that the culture handed down by the parents has an impact on structural figure perception (N = 914). Subjects were classified according to type of approach, based on the order in which tasks were performed using a computer recording of lines traced. Results demonstrate substantial contrasts among groups of children of different cultural origins. Inherited culture appears to influence structural figure perception, which could explain the variation in scores obtained. The impact of the familiarity with this type of task and educational level of the families are discussed.

Affiliations: 1: EA 4056, INSERM U669, Universite Paris-DescartesSorbonne Paris CiteFranceHopital Jean VerdierBondyFrance; 2: Universite Paris 8France; 3: INSERM U669, Universite Paris-Sud and Universite Paris-DescartesParisFranceGroupe Hospitalier Paris-Sud, APHPle Kremlin-BicetreFrance; 4: INSERM U669, Universite Paris DescartesSorbonne Paris Cite, ParisFranceMaison de Solenn – Maison des adolescents de Cochin, AP-HP97 Boulevard de Port-Royal, 75679 Paris Cedex 14France


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