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Holistic thinking, common in Japan, leadsto a certain way of memorising.

(图解:整体型思维在日本稀松平常,这也形成了一种特定的记忆方式)


Clearly, humans are in many ways verysimilar – we share the same physiology and have the same basic needs, such asnourishment, safety and sexuality. So what effect can culture really have onthe fundamental aspects of our psyche, such as perception, cognition andpersonality? Let’s take a look at the evidence so far.

显然,人类在很多方面都是相像的,我们的生理机能是一样的,而且有着同样的基本需求,比如营养、安全和性行为。那么,文化到底能对我们心灵的基本面产生什么影响呢,例如感觉、认知和个性?让我们来考察考察目前的证据。

Experimental psychologists typically studybehaviour in a small group of people, with the assumption that this can begeneralised to the wider human population. If the population is considered tobe homogeneous, then such inferences can indeed be made from a random sample.

实验心理学家通常会在一小群人中研究其行为,他们会假定这种研究(得出的结论)能推而广之到更广大的种群中。如果认为种群是同质的,那么确实能从随机样本中得出这种推论。

However, this isn’t the case. Psychologistshave long disproportionately relied on undergraduate students to carry outtheir studies, simply because they are readily available to researchers atuniversities. More dramatically still, more than 90% of participants inpsychological studies come from countries that are Western, Educated,Industrialised, Rich, and Democratic (W.E.I.R.D). Clearly, these countries areneither a random sample nor representative for the human population.

然而,情况并非如此。长期以来,心理学家们不成比例地依赖在校大学生来进行他们的研究,单纯因为他们对于大学里的研究人员来说是现成可用的。更戏剧化的是,超过90%的心理研究参与者都来自西方/受教育程度高/工业化/富裕/民主的国家(首字母为W.E.I.R.D)。显然,这些国家既称不上随机样本,也不能代表全人类。

Thinking styles

思维方式


In contrast, participants from Easterncountries will often sext the monkey and the banana, because these obxtsbelong in the same environment and share a relationship (monkeys eat bananas).This is a holistic thinking style, in which obxt and context are perceived tobe interrelated.

相较而言,来自东方国家的受访者通常会选择猴子和香蕉,因为这些对象属于同一个环境,而且能构成一组关系(猴子吃香蕉)。这是一种整体型思维方式,以这种方式认知时,对象和环境是相互关联的。


Holistic thinking is prent in Asiancultures, such as India.

(图解:整体型思维在亚洲文化中非常普遍,比如印度)

In a classic demonstration of culturaldifferences in thinking styles, participants from Japan and the USA werepresented with a series of animated scenes. Lasting about 20 seconds, eachscene showed various aquatic creatures, vegetation and rocks in an underwatersetting. In a subsequent recall task, both groups of participants were equallylikely to remember salient obxts, the larger fish. But the Japaneseparticipants were better than American participants at recalling backgroundinformation, such as the colour of the water. This is because holistic thinkingfocuses on background and context just as much as foreground.

在一场思维方式层面体现文化差异的演示中,向来自日本和美国的受访者展示了一系列的动画场景。整段动画持续20秒,每个场景都呈现出水下环境中不同的水生生物、植物和岩石。在随后的回忆任务中,两个受访者小组均有同样的可能忆起显要的物体,即体形更大的鱼。但相比美国受访者,日本受访者在回忆背景信息方面做得更好,比如水的颜色。这是因为整体型思维像专注于前景一样,专注背景和环境。


The self

自我

If you were asked to describe yourself,what would you say? Would you describe yourself in terms of personalcharacteristics – being intelligent or funny – or would you use preferences,such as “I love pizza”? Or perhaps you would instead base it on socialrelationships, such as “I am a parent”? Social psychologists have longmaintained that people are much more likely to describe themselves and othersin terms of stable personal characteristics.

如果要你描述下自己,你会说什么?你会不会就个人特质来描述你自己,比如才智或幽默?会不会拿偏好说事,比如“我爱披萨”?或者也许你会基于社会关系来说明,比如“我为人父母”?社会心理学家长久以来都认为人们更可能用稳定的个人特质来描述自己和别人。

However, the way people describe themselvesseems to be culturally bound. Individuals in the western world are indeed morelikely to view themselves as free, autonomous and unique individuals,possessing a set of fixed characteristics. But in many other parts of theworld, people describe themselves primarily as a part of different socialrelationships and strongly connected with others. This is more prent inAsia, Africa and Latin America. These differences are pervasive, and have beenlixed to differences in social relationships, motivation and upbringing.

然而,人们描述自己时似乎受限于文化。西方人确实倾向于把自己看成是自由、自主乃至独特的个体,具有一组固定的特质。但在世界其他很多地方,人们在根本上会把自己描述为不同社会关系的一部分,而且与其他人保持着紧密联系。这种情况在亚洲、非洲和拉丁美洲更加普遍。这些差异是无处不在的,并与社会关系、动机和教养方面的差异有关。


Zulu people are more likely to think ofthemselves in terms of social relationships.

(图解:祖鲁人(南非)倾向于用社会关系来看待他们自己)

This difference in self-construal has evenbeen demonstrated at the brain level. In a brain-scanning study (fMRI), Chineseand American participants were shown different adjectives and were asked howwell these traits represented themselves. They were also asked to think abouthow well they represented their mother (the mothers were not in the study),while being scanned.

这种自我建构方面的差异甚至会显示在大脑层面上。在一项脑扫描研究(fMRI)中,向中国和美国受访者展示了不同的形容词,并询问他们这些品质在多大程度上能描述他们自己。他们也被要求思考这些品质在多大程度上能够描述他们的母亲(他们的母亲不在研究中),与此同时接受扫描。

In American participants, there was a cleardifference in brain responses between thinking about the self and the mother inthe “medial prefrontal cortex”, which is a region of the brain typicallyassociated with self presentations. However, in Chinese participants there waslittle or no difference between self and mother, suggesting that theself-presentation shared a large overlap with the presentation of the closerelative.

美国受访者在想到自己与母亲时,脑部内侧前额叶皮质上出现的反应呈现出清晰的差异,大脑中的这个部位通常与自我描述有关。然而在中国受访者中,在想到自己和母亲时,出现的差异很小或者无差异,这就表明自我描述与对至亲的描述之间存在相当大的重合部分。

Mental health

心理健康



The existence of such culture-boundsyndromes has been acknowledged by both the World Health Organization and theAmerican Psychiatry Association recently, as some of these syndromes have beenincluded their respective classifications of mental illnesses.

这些受限于文化的综合症的存在已经在最近被世界卫生组织和美国精神病协会承认,因为这类综合症中的一部分已经被纳入这两个组织各自的精神疾病分类中。

Clearly culture has a massive effect on howwe view ourselves and how we are perceived by others – we are only justscratching the surface. The field, now known as “cross-cultural psychology”, isincreasingly being taught at universities across the world. The question is towhat extent it will inform psychology as a discipline going forward – some seeit as an extra dimension of it while others view it as an integral and centralpart of theory making.

很明显,文化对于我们如何看待自己以及别人如何感知我们有着巨大的影响,而我们只是触及了皮毛。该领域如今被称为“跨文化心理学”,正日益在全世界的大学中被教授。问题在于,作为一门学科,它将在多大程度上活化心理学并推动其向前发展,有些人将其视为心理学的一个特别的方面,而另一些人将其视为构建理论的一个必不可少的核心部分。