In Experiment 1, a normal adult population drawn from a remote culture (Himba) in northern Namibia made similarity matches to [Navon, D. (1977). Forest before trees: The precedence of global features in visual perception. Cognitive Psychology, 9, 353-383] hierarchical figures. The Himba showed a local bias stronger than that has been previously observed in any other non-clinical human population. However, in Experiment 2, their recognition of normal or distorted (''Thatcherized'') faces did not appear to have been affected by their attention to detail as has been suggested for autistic populations. The data are consistent with a cultural/experiential origin for population differences in local processing and suggest that attention to the local and global properties of stimuli may differ for hierarchical figures and faces. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.