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Culture and decision making. Cognitive universals?. Psychology has looked for cognitive universals Piagetian vs. Vygotskian modes Piaget: Fixed universal stages of thought culminating in formal logical operations Very individual-based Vygotsky: Deep influence of culture on cognition

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cognitive universals
Cognitive universals?
  • Psychology has looked for cognitive universals
  • Piagetian vs. Vygotskian modes
    • Piaget: Fixed universal stages of thought culminating in formal logical operations
      • Very individual-based
    • Vygotsky: Deep influence of culture on cognition
      • Much more collective
individualism vs collectivism
Individualism vs. Collectivism
  • Cultural studies has focused on this dimension
  • Western culture is very individual oriented
    • Agency of individual people
    • Objects are identified individually
      • Independent of context
      • Determines what an object ‘is’
    • Locus of causes is in specific objects
    • The ideal of reasoning is logic
      • Reasoning should be free from contradiction
collectivism
Collectivism
  • East Asian cultures tend to be collectivist
    • Collective culture promotes relational thinking
    • Agency is part of the collection of individuals
    • Causality resides in situations
    • Objects are identified with respect to a field
    • Contradiction may be embraced
      • People may be more prone to see both sides of an issue
      • Seeking a third-way to solve conflicts
dialectical reasoning
Dialectical reasoning
  • Appreciation for contradiction
    • Western culture seeks one solution or another
      • Finds certain outcomes to be surprising
      • Scientific reasoning seeks a winning theory
        • May have hampered the development of physics
        • Source of motion was placed within objects
    • Eastern culture embraces contradiction
      • Proverbs embody contradictions
      • Seeks compromise solutions in solving dilemmas
      • May have hampered science in Eastern cultures
        • Outcomes were not seen as surprising and so new theories were not required
object identification and memory
Object identification and memory
  • Western culture
    • People tend to dis-embed objects from context
    • Memory for objects not strongly influenced by the context in which the object was seen
  • Eastern culture
    • People tend to view objects within a field
    • Memory for objects is more strongly affected by the context in which the object was seen
risk and culture
Risk and culture
  • Cushion hypthesis (Hsee and Weber)
    • Members of Eastern cultures have larger social networks than do members of Western cultures
    • This social network makes members of Eastern cultures more tolerant of financial risks
    • Members of Eastern cultures may be more risk-seeking for gains
promotion prevention culture
Promotion, prevention & culture
  • Western cultures
    • More chronically promotion focused
  • Eastern cultures
    • More chronically prevention focused
  • Some have manipulated this experimentally
  • Focusing people on individuals leads to a promotion focus
  • Focusing people on relationship to a collective leads to a prevention focus
summary
Summary
  • Much work to be done on this dimension
  • Individualism
  • Collectivism
  • Not a pure distinction
    • Both cultures have some elements of each
    • Still, effects of culture are strong.