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The Geography of Thought: How Asians and…

The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think…

by Richard E. Nisbett

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A “landmark book” (Robert J. Sternberg, president of the American Psychological Association) by one of the world's preeminent psychologists that proves human behavior is not “hard-wired” but a function of culture.

Everyone knows that while different cultures think about the world differently, they use the same equipment for doing their thinking. But what if everyone is wrong?

The Geography of Thought documents Richard Nisbett's groundbreaking international research in cultural psychology and shows that people actually think about—and even see—the world differently because of differing ecologies, social structures, philosophies, and educational systems that date back to ancient Greece and China. 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 contrast, Westerners focus on salient objects or people, use attributes to assign them to categories, and apply rules of formal logic to understand their behavior.

From feng shui to metaphysics, from comparative linguistics to economic history, a gulf separates the children of Aristotle from the descendants of Confucius. At a moment in history when the need for cross-cultural understanding and collaboration have never been more important, The Geography of Thought offers both a map to that gulf and a blueprint for a bridge that will span it.
  PSZC | Apr 17, 2019 |
This book presents a number of psychological studies comparing Eastern and Western cognitive styles. Although I initially felt the writing had a strongly Western bias (particularly since the author is prone to describing a Western trait and then the Eastern lack of said trait), it seems to even out as the book goes on, and the studies themselves are interesting. ( )
  akaGingerK | Sep 30, 2018 |
Excellent book pointing out differences of behavior and thought I'd not thought about before. Made a really good impression on me, especially after living in Asia for a year. ( )
  untraveller | Apr 21, 2018 |
Logic-based deductive/inductive thinking versus holistic thinking. I don't think it is necessarily western versus eastern because I sure know of western pagan communities who share a similar a holistic worldview. An interesting read nonetheless about the two different modes of seeing and interacting with the world.
  yamiyoghurt | Jan 29, 2018 |
Asians & Westerners "have maintained very different systems of thought for thousands of years". Not interesting, Actually it was better the second time, but still redundant and not covering things well.
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743255356, Paperback)

Eminent psychologist Richard Nisbett boldly takes on the presumptions of evolutionary psychology in a provocative, powerfully engaging exploration of the divergent ways Eastern and Western societies see and understand the world.

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. These different “seeings” are a clue to profound underlying cognitive differences between Westerners and East Asians. For, as Nisbett demonstrates in The Geography of Thought, people think about and 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -0400)

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