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Holism in a European Cultural Context: Differences in Cognitive Style between Central and East Europeans and Westerners

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Central and East Europeans have a great deal in common, both historically and culturally, with West Europeans and North Americans, but tend to be more interdependent. Interdependence has been shown to be linked to holistic cognition. East Asians are more interdependent than Americans and are more holistic. If interdependence causes holism, we would expect Central and East Europeans to be more holistic than West Europeans and North Americans. In two studies we found evidence that Central and East Europeans are indeed more holistic than Westerners on three tasks, one of which examined categorization and two of which measured patterns of visual attention. These studies support the argument that cross-cultural differences in cognition are due to society level differences in independence/interdependence.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 530 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48409, USA; 2: University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia


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