The cultural neuroscience of holistic thinking

Bobby K. Cheon, Rongxiang Tang, Joan Y. Chiao, Yi Yuan Tang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Psychological and Cultural Foundations of East Asian Cognition
Subtitle of host publicationContradiction, Change, and Holism
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages181-211
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)9780199348541
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 18 2018

Keywords

  • Analytic/holistic thinking
  • Cognition
  • Cultural neuroscience
  • Dialecticism
  • Event-related potentials
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Holism
  • Incongruity

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    Cheon, B. K., Tang, R., Chiao, J. Y., & Tang, Y. Y. (2018). The cultural neuroscience of holistic thinking. In The Psychological and Cultural Foundations of East Asian Cognition: Contradiction, Change, and Holism (pp. 181-211). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780199348541.003.0006