The Geography of Thought by Richard Nisbett
How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why

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A “landmark book” (Robert J. Sternberg, president of the American Psychological Association) by one of the world's preeminent psychologists that proves human behavior is not “hard-wired” but a function of culture.

Everyone knows that while different cultures think about the world differently, they use the same equipment for doing their thinking. But what if everyone is wrong?

The Geography of Thought documents Richard Nisbett's groundbreaking international research in cultural psychology and shows that people actually think about—and even see—the world differently because of differing ecologies, social structures, philosophies, and educational systems that date back to ancient Greece and China. As a result, East Asian thought is “holistic”—drawn to the perceptual field as a whole and to relations among objects and events within that field. By contrast, Westerners focus on salient objects or people, use attributes to assign them to categories, and apply rules of formal logic to understand their behavior.

From feng shui to metaphysics, from comparative linguistics to economic history, a gulf separates the children of Aristotle from the descendants of Confucius. At a moment in history when the need for cross-cultural understanding and collaboration have never been more important, The Geography of Thought offers both a map to that gulf and a blueprint for a bridge that will span it.

About Richard Nisbett

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Richard E. Nisbett has taught psychology at Yale University and the University of Michigan, where he is the Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor. He has received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the William James Fellow Award of the American Psychological Society, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2002, he became the first social psychologist in a generation to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. The coauthor of Culture of Honor and numerous other books and articles, he lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Published October 26, 2010 by Free Press. 292 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Geography of Thought

Publishers Weekly

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This book may mark the beginning of a new front in the science wars. Nisbett, an eminent psychologist and co-author of a seminal Psychological Review paper on ho

Feb 24 2003 | Read Full Review of The Geography of Thought : Ho...

The New York Times

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''Americans and Japanese made about an equal number of references to the focal fish, but the Japanese made more than 60 percent more references to background elements.'' Nisbett takes this to confirm the hypothesis that ''Asians view the world through a wide-angle lens, whereas Westerners have tu...

Apr 20 2003 | Read Full Review of The Geography of Thought : Ho...

Publishers Weekly

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Initial chapters lay out the traditional differences between Aristotle and Confucius, and the social practices that produced (and have grown out of) these differing "homeostatic approaches" to the world: Westerners tend to inculcate individualism and choice (40 breakfast cereals at the supermarke...

Feb 24 2003 | Read Full Review of The Geography of Thought : Ho...

Energy Bulletin

He traces the two different thought processes back to the Ancient Greeks for classical Western thought construction and to the philosophies of the Tao for informing social discourse in the East.

Mar 05 2012 | Read Full Review of The Geography of Thought : Ho...

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