Assessment of attention level among Chinese and Israeli adolescents
Dubi Lufi, Yun-Kwok Wing, Ngan-Yin Chan
Background: The purpose of the present study was to compare the attention level of Chinese adolescents (mean age = 15.03) to that of Israeli adolescents (mean age = 14.67). Methods: Participants included 386 “normal” adolescents who responded to a computerized test assessing attention (mathematics continuous performance test [MATH-CPT]). No differences were found between males and females on any of the 11 main measures of the MATH-CPT. Results: The results indicated that Israeli adolescents performed better on three of the attention measures (“overall attention level,” “consistency in reaction time,” and “anticipatory responses”). The Chinese adolescents performed better on one measure: “Consistency of reaction time along the whole test” (sustained attention of standard deviation [SD]). The authors discuss the results by hypothesizing that the differences between the two groups can be explained by a possible sluggish tendency among Chinese adolescents, which may be connected to a holistic reasoning style as compared to an analytic reasoning style among the Israelis. The superior performance of Chinese adolescents on the “sustained attention of SD” can be explained by the tiredness of the Israeli adolescents due to the effort they exerted during testing. Conclusions: The results emphasized cultural differences between two cultures in the assessment of a quantitative measure of attention. Our results show that cultural diversity can be described by more accurate measures of a computerized test. The results support a well-known fact about differences between Eastern and Western cultures: Holistic (Eastern) versus analytic processing (Western) can create different quantitative outcomes in the assessment of attention level.