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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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The Cultural Neuroscience of Holistic Thinking

The Cultural Neuroscience of Holistic Thinking

(p.181) Chapter 6 The Cultural Neuroscience of Holistic Thinking
The Psychological and Cultural Foundations of East Asian Cognition

Bobby K. Cheon

Rongxiang Tang

Joan Y. Chiao

Yi-Yuan Tang

Oxford University Press

Cultural diversity in patterns for understanding and conceptualizing one’s relationships with others may have led to diverse cultural systems for interpreting, thinking, and reasoning about the world. Eastern holistic systems of thought rely on connectedness and relations as a primary way of understanding the world, whereas Western analytic systems of thought rely on discreteness or substansiveness as an epistemological way of thinking. From attention and cognition to social cognitive processes, neural systems have likewise adapted differently across cultural contexts to facilitate divergent systems of social interactions and relations. This chapter reviews recent evidence for cultural influences on neural systems of analytic/holistic thinking, and discusses the relevance of this neuroscientific evidence, such as that from functional magnetic resonance imaging and analysis of event-related potentials, for cultural-psychological theories of holism and dialecticism.

Keywords:   analytic/holistic thinking, holism, dialecticism, cultural neuroscience, cognition, incongruity, functional magnetic resonance imaging, event-related potentials

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