January 24, 2017 – How East and West think in profoundly different ways
Shinobu Kitayama at the University of Michigan has found that people in Hokkaido, Japan tend to place a higher value on independence and personal achievement – and emotions such as pride – than Japanese people from other islands, and they were less concerned about the views of others. The participants were also asked to take a social reasoning test, which asked them to discuss a baseball player using performance-enhancing drugs. Whereas Japanese people from other islands were more likely to explore the context – such as the pressure to succeed – the Hokkaido Japanese were more likely to blame the player’s personality or a flaw in his moral character. Again, this tendency to blame personal attributes is characteristic of an individualistic society, and much closer to the average Americans’ responses.