Holism in a European cultural context: Differences in cognitive style between Central and East Europeans and Westerners

Michael E.W. Varnum, Igor Grossmann, Daniela Katunar, Richard E. Nisbett, Shinobu Kitayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Central and East Europeans have a great deal in common, both historically and culturally, with West Europeans and North Americans, but tend to be more interdependent. Interdependence has been shown to be linked to holistic cognition. East Asians are more interdependent than Americans and are more holistic. If interdependence causes holism, we would expect Central and East Europeans to be more holistic than West Europeans and North Americans. In two studies we found evidence that Central and East Europeans are indeed more holistic than Westerners on three tasks, one of which examined categorization and two of which measured patterns of visual attention. These studies support the argument that cross-cultural differences in cognition are due to society level differences in independence/interdependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-333
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cognition and Culture
Volume8
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Central Europe
  • Cross-cultural differences
  • Eastern Europe
  • Holistic vs. Analytic thought
  • Western Europe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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