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The Psychological and Cultural Foundations of East Asian CognitionContradiction, Change, and Holism$
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Julie Spencer-Rodgers and Kaiping Peng

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199348541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199348541.001.0001

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What Is Dialectical Thinking? Conceptualization and Measurement

What Is Dialectical Thinking? Conceptualization and Measurement

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 What Is Dialectical Thinking? Conceptualization and Measurement
Source:
The Psychological and Cultural Foundations of East Asian Cognition
Author(s):

Julie Spencer-Rodgers

Elise Anderson

Christine Ma-Kellams

Carol Wang

Kaiping Peng

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199348541.003.0001

In the past several decades, research comparing dialectical and non-dialectical (“linear”) cultures has flourished, as have empirical studies on holistic versus analytic thinking. This literature has identified East-West cultural differences in almost all aspects of the human condition and life, from the manner in which people reason and make decisions, to how they conceptualize themselves and others, to how they cope with stress and mental illness. This chapter defines dialectical and holistic thinking, distinguishing them from related epistemologies (e.g., Hegelian and Marxist dialectical thinking) and cultural constructs (e.g., collectivism and interdependence). The chapter then discusses the various ways dialectical thinking has been operationalized, measured (e.g., with the Dialectical Self Scale), and manipulated in the literature. Lastly, the chapter examines the issue of how dialecticism, especially tolerance of contradiction, influences the manner in which people respond to self-report measures in the first place and the implications this has for cross-cultural research.

Keywords:   dialecticism, Dialectical Self Scale, culture, cross-cultural research, contradiction, analytic-holistic thinking, East-West cultural differences

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