Cross-cultural differences in object recognition: Comparing asylum seekers from Sub-Saharan Africa and a matched Western European control group

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Abstract

Nowadays, more and more people report about their memories in cross-cultural contexts. In international criminal settings and asylum procedures, object recognition tests can provide valuable information, for example, about weapons used during a crime or landmarks from the claimed region of origin. This study was the first to compare object recognition performance by asylum seekers from Sub-Saharan Africa to a matched Western European control group. African participants performed worse than European participants on perceptual tests involving transformations from two- to three-dimensional representations, but both groups performed equally well on an object recognition test that involved transformation from three- to two-dimensional representations. However, African participants were significantly more likely to respond “yes” on the recognition test (i.e., an acquiescence response style) than European participants. Our findings elucidate cultural differences in responding on an object recognition test. Judges, juries, and immigration officials would be wise to take these differences into account when evaluating recognition performance in cross-cultural contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-473
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume32
Issue number4
Early online date29 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Asylum seekers
  • Cross-cultural psychology
  • Eyewitness memory
  • Object recognition
  • Signal detection theory

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