Brain research shows differences in perception between East and West

Cultural differences in perception between east and westAccording to the Boston Globe, brain scans reveal cultural differences in perception between Asians and Westerners:

Western culture, they have found, conditions people to think of themselves as highly independent entities. And when looking at scenes, Westerners tend to focus on central objects more than on their surroundings.

In contrast, East Asian cultures stress interdependence. When Easterners take in a scene, they tend to focus more on the context as well as the object: the whole block, say, rather than the BMW parked in the foreground.

To use a camera analogy, “the Americans are more zoom and the East Asians are more panoramic,” said Dr. Denise Park of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas in Dallas. “The Easterner probably sees more, and the Westerner probably sees less, but in more detail.”

You can test your own perceptions using the gallery of images that accompany this article.

One response to “Brain research shows differences in perception between East and West

  1. John Shaffer


    Once again you intrigue with keeping us tuned (ah, your wonderful old fashioned t.v. – does it still have a non-viewing hours test pattern?) with reminders of east-west, right brain-left brain, male-female?, certainly “masculine as a metaphor-feminine as a metaphor, focus-take the wings off to figure out how it works – wholistic appreaciating the whole, realities.

    Joseph Campbell commented the Western mind is to find wholeness through “individuation”, a Jungian term. We are not geared to defer to a great leader or be absorbed into the culture. His view of the East was – in the whole nd in the main – culturally “they” are.

    The point, of course, is we need both. Tracing new neurologically webways between right and left brain, functioning both as a laser sharp focused deconstructionist and and let’s figure out how to put this whole thing together, soft-hard, analytic-intuitive creature.

    Your work continues to inspire…in all dimensions. Thanks. John Shaffer