Culture and Point of View

Nisbett Richard E.
Masuda Takahiko
Language of the article : English
DOI: 10.3406/intel.2007.1282
Product variations: 


Paper format

to download freely

East Asians and Westerners perceive the world and think about it in very different ways. Westerners are inclined to attend to some focal object, analyzing its attributes and categorizing it in an effort to find out what rules govern its behavior. Rules used include formal logic. Causal attributions tend to focus exclusively on the object and are therefore often mistaken. East Asians are more likely to attend to a broad perceptual and conceptual field, noticing relationships and changes and grouping objects based on family resemblance rather than category membership. Causal attributions emphasize the context. Social factors are likely to be important in directing attention. East Asians live in complex social networks with prescribed role relations. Attention to context is important to effective functioning. More independent Westerners live in less constraining social worlds and have the luxury of attending to the object and their goals with respect to it. The physical ‘‘affordances’’ of the environment may also influence perception. The built environments of the East are more complex and contain more objects than do those of the West. In addition, artistic products of the East emphasize the field and deemphasize individual objects, including people. Western art renders less of the field and emphasizes individual objects and people.

Pour citer cet article :

Nisbett Richard E., Masuda Takahiko (2007/2-3). Culture and Point of View. In Clément Fabrice & Kaufmann Laurence (Eds), Culture and Society : Some Viewpoints of Cognitive Scientists, Intellectica, 46-47, (pp.153-172), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2007.1282.