then we are talking about real and significant differences between the western and East Asian mind, including how westerners and easterners see themselves and others. Nevertheless, Nisbett is right not to make too much of this. It’s not as though the two cultures are so far apart that people can’t relate to one another. As he says, Asians have the same fundamental theories of human personality, and he could talk with Asians about ‘Fung’s decency and humility, Chan’s arrogance, Lin’s reserve, understanding each other perfectly.’10 Also, although the differences do seem to be deeply culturally entrenched, they are far from unmalleable. Asian-Americans, for instance, display typically hybrid patterns, and Nisbett himself concludes his study by saying he expects the future to bring synthesis, not westernisation or polarisation.

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A quote saved on April 23, 2015.


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