The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and

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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.
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About the author

Richard E. Nisbett, PhD, has taught psychology at Yale and currently teaches at 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, in 2002, a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. He is the author and editor of several university press titles. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Oct 26, 2010
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781439106679
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
Psychology / Social Psychology
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“Compelling, and so beautifully written…’The Mind Club’ deftly brings the most up-to-date research about other minds to readers of all backgrounds. It may cause you to think differently about crime and punishment, about business transactions and health care, and even about the upcoming elections. Things might just start looking up.”–The Wall Street Journal

From dogs to gods, the science of understanding mysterious minds—including your own.   

Nothing seems more real than the minds of other people. When you consider what your boss is thinking or whether your spouse is happy, you are admitting them into the "mind club." It’s easy to assume other humans can think and feel, but what about a cow, a computer, a corporation? What kinds of mind do they have? Daniel M. Wegner and Kurt Gray are award-winning psychologists who have discovered that minds—while incredibly important—are a matter of perception. Their research opens a trove of new findings, with insights into human behavior that are fascinating, frightening and funny.
       The Mind Club explains why we love some animals and eat others, why people debate the existence of God so intensely, how good people can be so cruel, and why robots make such poor lovers.  By investigating the mind perception of extraordinary targets—animals, machines, comatose people, god—Wegner and Gray explain what it means to have a mind, and why it matters so much.
         Fusing cutting-edge research and personal anecdotes, The Mind Club explores the moral dimensions of mind perception with wit and compassion, revealing the surprisingly simple basis for what compels us to love and hate, to harm and to protect.

How does the situation we’re in influence the way we behave and think? Professors Ross and Nisbett eloquently argue that the context we find ourselves in substantially affects our behaviour.

“The Person and the Situation explores the complex ideas about personal versus situational determinants of behavior and relates the lessons of our discipline to important political, social, and even philosophical issues. This its the type of book that we have long wished we had available to assign to the serious, critical student who asks, ‘What have we really learned from social psychology?’ “We offer this book as a kind of throwback to a golden age and as a tribute to our intellectual forebears. We offer it as a ‘stand tall and be proud’ pep talk for our colleagues in general and for our younger colleagues in particular. We offer it as an olive branch and invitation to more fruitful intellectual dialogue with our friends in personality research (and also to our friends in anthropology and sociology who cluck, with some justification, about our parochialism). We offer it as a slim guide for non-psychologists to the heart and muscle of our enterprise. And last, but not least, we offer it as an invitation to honor the great tradition of Kurt Lewin that links basic theory first to the analysis of socially significant real-world phenomena and ultimately to the task of effective social innovation.”  Lee Ross & Richard Nisbett

With a new foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, and a new afterword by the authors, this timely reissue of one of social psychology’s classic texts is essential reading for anyone with an interest in human behaviour.

 “All of my books have been, in some sense, intellectual godchildren of The Person and the Situation. This book has been a constant companion over the past 10 years.” Malcolm Gladwell, in his new foreword

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