Western way of thinking

Western mentality

Personal note: I have experienced this first hand, when a former girlfriend broke up with me out of the blue, when I thought all was well. An eye-tracking study by Richard Nisbett at the University of Michigan found that participants from East Asia tend to spend more time looking around the background of an image — working out the context — whereas people in America tended to spend more time concentrating on the main focus of the picture. And yet psychologists are finding that the frontier spirit still touches the way they think, feel and reason, compared with people living in Honshu just 54km 33 miles away. It is in fact a question about the scientific validity of the enterprise. How much difference does there have to be between the Asians and the Westerners in a particular experiment to demonstrate a cultural divide? It has been difficult to prove that the apparent correlations in the real world are not caused by some other factor, such as the relative wealth of the country, but lab experiments offer some support for the idea — when psychologists prime people to feel afraid of disease, they do seem to adopt more collectivist ways of thinking, such as greater conformity to group behaviours. During group meetings, a Westerner is more likely to bring up arguments or disagree with the topic at hand. Since then Buddhist rites and principles of rebirth, harmony, and repetition, and have influenced Chinese thought and culture. While China is surrounded by huge mountain ranges, deserts, and ocean, Western European nations have been surrounded by relatively smaller geographical obstacles and more navigable seas. In line with this theory, recent psychological studies have shown that the states at the edge of the frontier such as Montana tend to score higher on measures of individualism. A multitude of hypotheses abound for why this might be the case. Ancient Influence 1: Geography Differences in Eastern Chinese and Western thinking may stem from something as simple as where people have lived. American agriculturists like Capron had been roped in to advise the new settlers on the best ways to farm the land, and within 70 years the population blossomed from a few thousand to more than two million. Any disagreements he may have with a speaker could be brought up later in a more private forum, giving the speaker face in the process.

It is common knowledge, for example, that the vast majority of subjects in psychology experiments are college students; in fact, they are the subjects of most of the studies discussed in this book. Capitalism in the Context of Eastern vs Western Thought Different goals: Capitalism means that everyone is out to earn more, but in China wealth is more happily or customarily shared within the extended family and nation, whereas in the West wealth is more focused towards individual and private advancement.

Western way of thinking

As Hussain points out, there are many historic connections between Eastern and Western countries that will mean that some people straddle both ways of thinking, and factors like age and class will also have an effect. Buddhism arrived in China in the first century AD, with similar principles to Taoism. If the voluntary settlement theory is correct, those pioneers should have cultivated a more independent outlook in Hokkaido compared to the rest of the country. There are not many practicing Taoists or Buddhists in China today, but there are very many ancestor venerators. Sure enough, Shinobu Kitayama at the University of Michigan has found that people in Hokkaido tend to place a higher value on independence and personal achievement — and emotions such as pride — than Japanese people from other islands, and they were less concerned about the views of others. This deference to others seemed like a subtle sign of a more collectivist mindset, and so Talhelm began to wonder what might lie behind the two outlooks. Modern Society Consumerism In the past Eastern Chinese and Western cultures have had very different formative influences, leading to major differences in thinking. It is hard not to feel that this is precisely the trap into which ''The Geography of Thought'' has fallen. The second set of problems follows closely from this point. Nisbett points out that Western philosophers emphasised freedom and independence, whereas Eastern traditions like Taoism tended to focus on concepts of unity.

Almost all the people he questioned are not directly involved in farming, of course — but the historical traditions of their regions are still shaping their thinking. Talhelm said he was first inspired by his own experiences in the country.

eastern vs western philosophical thinking

They also asked people to draw a diagram demonstrating their relationships to their friends and associates: people in individualistic societies tend to draw themselves as bigger than their friends, whereas collectivists tend to make everyone the same size.

If one can enter into the logic of the book, one might agree that the experiments demonstrate that Asians and Westerners think very differently.

eastern thinking

In one studycomplex images were shown to test subjects from East Asia and North America. Modern Society Consumerism In the past Eastern Chinese and Western cultures have had very different formative influences, leading to major differences in thinking.

In line with this theory, recent psychological studies have shown that the states at the edge of the frontier such as Montana tend to score higher on measures of individualism.

Traditionally, in China "the travel agency is right"; in the West "the customer is right". Numerous studies have revealed a fundamental difference in the perception of self. Nisbett would like to convince us that Kipling's line is true in some profound sense. From the broad differences between East and West, to subtle variation between US states, it is becoming increasingly clear that history, geography and culture can change how we all think in subtle and surprising ways — right down to our visual perception. This would seem to lend credibility to the hypothesis -- except that the French, Italians and Germans also weighed in at 30 percent. However, when China departed from absolute monarchy it went the route of single-party republicanism and communism, whereas the West has adopted democracy. New York: The Free Press. When individuals from northern and southern China are given the tests to determine their tendencies to holistic or individualistic thinking, the results show that southerners tended towards holistic thinking while wheat eating northerners tended to more individualist thought. Rice growing is a labour intensive activity, that requires the coordination of several neighboring farms to do properly. There are collectivist thinkers in the West and individualist thinkers in the East. How much difference does there have to be between the Asians and the Westerners in a particular experiment to demonstrate a cultural divide? Soon others followed suit, with farms, ports, roads, and railways sprouting up across the island. They line is often misinterpreted to support the notion that the world is divided between two great spheres, and that they are fundamentally dissimilar. Westerners tend to value success and self-improvement whereas easterners focus more on group achievements. There are not many practicing Taoists or Buddhists in China today, but there are very many ancestor venerators.

Well, new studies offer the idea that the answer may be yes. The obvious explanation would be that they simply reflect the prevailing philosophies that have come to prominence in each region over time.

Chinese thinking vs western thinking

Specifically, the Western style of thought is characterized as embodying the value of ''individual distinctiveness'' or ''independence,'' while the Eastern style of thought embodies the value of ''harmonious social relations'' or ''interdependence. Like most East Asian countries, Japan as a whole tends to have a more collectivist and holistic mind-set. In one study , complex images were shown to test subjects from East Asia and North America. As Hussain points out, there are many historic connections between Eastern and Western countries that will mean that some people straddle both ways of thinking, and factors like age and class will also have an effect. Being a land of superior spiritual knowledge drew many in the s and 70s to investigate, including such great minds as Steve Jobs and John Lennon. In the Chinese world, politeness is part of a basic set of principles that has to be followed by all. However, in China people buy cars to fit in, whereas in the West people buy cars to stand out! Modern Society Consumerism In the past Eastern Chinese and Western cultures have had very different formative influences, leading to major differences in thinking. Even within Nisbett's ''scientific'' framework, his arguments are not convincing. Lead them with excellence and put them in their place through roles and ritual practices, and in addition to developing a sense of shame, they will order themselves harmoniously. By the new millennium, it numbered nearly six million. But anthropologists have learned the hard way that this kind of exercise -- in which cultures are represented as deeply and homogeneously programmed with very different ways of thinking -- often has quite the opposite effect, fostering or feeding unproductive stereotypes or worse. The participants were also asked to take a social reasoning test, which asked them to discuss a baseball player using performance-enhancing drugs. It concerns the question of framing the whole argument as a contrast between Asians and Westerners in the first place. Some suggest that it comes down to philosophy.

Of course, these tendencies are generalizations. Leave a Reply.

western individuals

Generally speaking - there are many exceptions - people in the West tend to be more individualist, and people from Asian countries like India, Japan or China tend to be more collectivist.

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Differences Between Chinese and Western Thinking