Culture, Class and Cognition

East Asians have been found to reason in relatively holistic fashion and Americans in relatively analytic fashion. It has been proposed that these cognitive differences are the result of social practices that encourage interdependence for Asians and independence for Americans. If so, cognitive differences might be found even across regions that are geographically close. We compared performance on a categorization task of relatively interdependent southern Italians and relatively independent northern Italians and found the former to reason in a more holistic fashion than the latter. Furthermore, as it has been argued that working class social practices encourage interdependence and middle class practices encourage independence, we anticipated that working class participants might reason in a more holistic fashion than middle class participants. This is what we found – at least for southern Italy.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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