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Chapter 8

Cultural Psych Chapter 8.docx

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York University
PSYC 3350
Francois Lalonde

Cultural Psych Chapter 8  Masuda+colleagues noticed differences in paintings in countries: o East Asia- higher horizons in landscape scenes(15% higher) o Western- figures in portraits larger in western pictures  Argue that these differences reflect fundamental differences in cognitive/perceptual processes that exists between the cultures ANALYTIC AND HOLISTIC THINKING  Taxonomic categorizations answers common among Westerners whereas thematic categorization common among East Asians  Taxonomic categorization: dog and rabbit the same because they are animals, carrot different  Thematic categorization: rabbit and carrot go together, dog different  Analytic thinking: focus on objects and their attributes. o Objects perceived as existing independently from their context o Seen more in western culture  Holistic thinking: gives attention to the relations among objects and among the objects and the surrounding context o Behavior is predicted and explained on the basis of the relationships o More common in east Asian cultures than western  Origins of analytic and holistic thinking due to social experiences in individualistic/collectivistic cultures  Nisbett argues cultural differences in analytic vs. holistic thinking between westerns/E.A. were also present between Greeks and Chinese 2,500 ago. o Analytic seen in: platonic perspective that the world is a collection of discrete, unchanging objects, Aristotle’s view on gravity, and Greek development of formal logic system o Holistic seen in: intellectual traditions of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, Chinese medicine, and cultural emphasis on harmony among people and nature  Some researchers argue that holistic thinking widespread and analytic usually only seen with people who have had much contact with western society o Arabs, Russians, Turkish farmers/fishermen more holistic o Even within cultures there are parallel differences- working class Americans & Russians more holistic than middle class ATTENTION  Attention: where our cognitive activity is directed  Analytic: focus attention on separate parts of a scene  Holistic: direct attention more broadly, across an entire scene  Study on European and Chinese Americans using ink blots: European more likely to describe what they saw based on a single aspect of the card, whereas Chinese more likely to give “whole card” responses  Holistic thinkers good at tasks which direct attention to relations among different events: Study: o Shown pairings of different combinations of two pictures(light bulb, & coin) o Asked Chinese and Americans about the likelihood that the other picture would appear beside it when shown only one picture o Chinese estimates of the likelihood more accurate than Americans  Holistic thinkers do poorly at tasks which require you to separate a scene into its counterparts. Study of rod and frame task: o Goal is to say whether rod is pointing straight up o Analytic thinkers do well on task o Analytic thinkers tend to show field independence: separate objects from their background fields o Holistic thinkers show field dependence: view objects as bound to their backgrounds o People’s ability to judge the rod’s angle while ignoring frame relates to their general social orientation o People who attend a lot to others + introverted develop more of an orientation toward the field o Field independent: hunters/herders, religious training in Calvinism, industrialized societies o Field interdependence: farmers, Catholicism/Judaism, highly industrialized societies  Study on field dependence: o American and jap shown computer images of an underwater scene; asked to describe what they saw  Jap made 60% more references to background objects  Americans tended to talk more about fish at the center of scene o Participants then shown additional scenes that included the same focal fish with either the same background or different  When fish shown with original background, jap more likely to recognize the fish than Americans  When fish shown with different background, Americans more likely to recognize than Japanese  Study which examined eye movement using eye tracker: o Participants asked to identify emotion of the target person; test looked at whether people from the two cultures were looking at the same things o Jap judgments influenced by the expressions o the people in the background, but no influence for Americans o First 1,000 milliseconds: both spend 90% of the time looking at the target figure, but American percentage a little higher o Next two 1,000 milliseconds: both start to look at background a little more, especially for Japanese  Saccades are the extremely quick eye movements that shift people’s gaze from one fixation point to another o Compared to Americans, Chinese were more systematically scanning the entire scene  People from different cultures not seeing the same things, even when looking at identical scenes  Stimuli perceived by our brains different across cultures  Study of Masuda which asked participants to draw some pictures on their own: o Jap drew higher horizon and more complex background which included 75% more contextual objects  More objects seen in jap cities  Study which kept changing objects in scenes: o Change blindness: people will not notice even substantial changes in scenes, unless they are directly attending to the location that is changing o Jap noticed more of the changes in the background than Americans o Both Americans, and jap were more likely to identify the changes when they had been primed with pictures of jap scenes than when they had been primed with pictures of American scenes o Busy scenes of jap day to day life appear to make both jap and Americans more holistic in their attention styles UNDERSTANDING OTHER PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOURS  Analytic thinking: understand people and their behavior by considering their inner qualities  Holistic: understand people’s behavior by considering how the situation is influencing them  Westerners more likely to explain people’s behaviors in terms of their underlying dispositions (dispositional attributions)  East Asians more likely to explain people’s behaviors in terms of contextual variables(situational attributions) The Fundamental attribution error  Jones & Harris study: people assumed that the person instructed to write a pro Castro essay had positive attitudes toward Castro, and person instructed to write an anti-Castro essay had negative attitudes toward Castro o Attributed the behavior of writing the essay to reflecting the writer’s underlying personality even though it was clear that the writers had no choice in what they wrote  Fundamental attribution error: tendency to ignore the situational information while focusing on dispositional information when making judgments about people’s behaviors  Geertz argues fundamental error is not seen in some other cultures o They do not tend to conceive people’s behavior in terms of underlying dispositions, but instead see them as emerging out of the roles people have  Study by shweder and Bourne: contrasted Indians and Americans in ways they described others o Indians tended to describe others like, “she brings cakes to my family on festival days” o Americans: “she is friendly” o Americans more likely to describe people in terms of abstract personality traits o Indians more likely to describe in terms of the concrete behaviors they engaged in  Study on children and university students from India/America: o 8 year olds game similar responses for reasons of actor’s behavior o As American sample got older, they were more likely to make dispositional attributions whereas situational attributions remained unchanged o As Indians got older, they made more situational attributions whereas their dispositional attributions did not change significantly o As adults, Americans showed clear evidence for fundamental error but Indian adults did not show any evidence for it. o Instead, there was a reverse fundamental error because they tended to focus more on the situation than on the disposition  Study on Chinese & American articles about mass murder: o Chinese stories made more references on situation than Americans(more dispositional) REASONING STYLE  Analytic: apply more rules and laws when they try to make sense of a situation  Holistic: more likely to make sense of a situation by considering the relationships among objects or events  Study where American and east Asian participants asked to decide when object belonged to which group: o European more likely to base their decisions on application of rule whereas E.A. base their decision on the perceived resemblances of the stimuli. o Asian Americans fell in between the other two groups  E.A. more likely to use holistic reasoning in a situation when there is conflict between an analytic and a holistic situation  When there is no conflict, westerns should be able to engage in holistic reasoning, and E.A. should be able to rely on analytic reasoning strategies (ex. Math and science)  Holistic and analytic thinking influences reasoning styles is in the kinds of information people perceive to be relevant to a task o Study on Koreans and Americans on how they would solve a murder case:  Americans discarded more information than K  For more analytic Americans, they murder mystery could be best be solved by focusing only on those items that were most relevant to the case  The more holistic K felt that a greater number of items had possible relations
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