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Culture Influences Perception

Autor:   •  December 2, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,964 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,423 Views

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Culture can shape our view of the world. It sounds way to obvious to even be an argument. Many studies have shown that people from different cultures see and perceive things differently and that is probably due to how their culture shaped the way they view the world. While I agree with this idea, I think people often overlook how culture can be different for each individual and therefore affected by it differently. From these previous studies, people have over-generalized the findings to large sum of population under such broadly labeled culture and based on my personal experience, I would like to argue how we should not just label people into culture in terms we often do.

I would like to begin this idea of culture shaping thoughts and perception with findings from previous studies. Majority of the studies in this field focused on the difference between the Western cultures vs. East Asian cultures. The Western culture, mostly US, is known as individualistic or analytic, which they show attention to object and its attributes, and detach the objects from its field when perceiving them. Also, they prefer predicting and explaining, and they rely on the use of formal logic and the law of non-contradiction. In addition, since the culture encourages individualism, people in these cultures are said to be challenged in their ability to understand someone else’s point of view. In contrast, East Asian cultures, mostly Korean, Chinese, and Japanese, are known to be holistic or interpersonal and therefore, much more adept at determining another persons’ perspective. They also rely more on experiential knowledge rather than formal rules of logic and are more dialectical, which means that they embraces change, contradiction, and multiple perspectives more the people from Western cultures [1].

There have been series of studies to support this fundamental difference in these two cultures. In one study, Japanese and US students were shown an animated underwater scene with one large fish swimming among smaller fishes and other aquatic life. When asked to describe the scene, Americans tended to report the large fish and ignored other small objects. On the other hand, Japanese people described about aspects of the background environment and relationships between animate and inanimate objects much more than Americans did. This showed the visual focuses of the two cultures are very different. Another study found that the Chinese participants were less eager to resolve contradictions in a variety of situations, whereas American participants were quick to come down in favor of one side when asked to analyze a conflict. Similarly, when participants were presented with strong arguments in support of a project and weaker arguments opposing it, Asian subjects responded to the weaker opposing arguments by decreasing their support, while American subjects actually increased their endorsement of the project in response to the opposing


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