Cover of Richard E. Nisbett: The Geography of Thought

Richard E. Nisbett The Geography of Thought

How Asians and Westerners Think Differently

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U Lužického semináře 10, Malá Strana

Book information

John Murray Press

UK

2019

Paperback

288

Standard

308135

978-1-5293-0941-6

1-5293-0941-7

Cognition & cognitive psychology

Annotation

When Richard Nisbett showed an animated underwater scene to his American students, they zeroed in on a big fish swimming among smaller fish. Japanese subjects, on the other hand, made observations about the background environment...and the different "seeings" are a clue to profound underlying cognitive differences between Westerners and East Asians. As Professor Nisbett shows in The Geography of Thought people actually think - and even see - the world differently, because of differing ecologies, social structures, philosophies, and educational systems that date back to ancient Greece and China, and that have survived into the modern world. As a result, East Asian thought is "holistic" - drawn to the perceptual field as a whole, and to relations among objects and events within that field. By comparison to Western modes of reasoning, East Asian thought relies far less on categories, or on formal logic; it is fundamentally dialectic, seeking a "middle way" between opposing thoughts. By contrast, Westerners focus on salient objects or people, use attributes to assign them to categories, and apply rules of formal logic to understand their behaviour.

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