east vs. west?

so! i tallied up all the responses to do you think like a westerner? and the repeat (see bottom of post for the results). (^_^) this was definitely fun, but the results here don’t tell us a whole lot (especially ’cause this was a very UNscientific poll).

one thing that i have to agree on with several commenters is that i think this little survey hints that nisbitt’s east-west cognitive divide is not a completely clear cut one (presumably he never said or meant that anyway — don’t want to put words into his mouth here). granted i only asked you guys about one of the tests, but, out of the individuals who identified themselves as of wholly european extraction, 38 responded “A” (the east asian response!) while only 25 answered “B” (the western response). another seven did switch from “A” to “B” so that does boost the “B” responses total up to 32. and one person switched from “B” to “A”. (there’s always one! (~_^) ) still, seems like a lot of westerners think like easterners — more collectivist and holistic than individualist and reductionistic — at least sometimes (including me!). so what’s going on?

i tried mapping the results (of only those people who said they were wholly european, so sorry jayman and santoculto, you guys are not on the map!), but didn’t have much luck. there were no clear patterns that i could see — two possible hints at patterns, but they’re very slight. ok. here’s the map:

europe map - do you think like a westerner 03

each colored square indicates one individual (irregardless of the size of the square). red=”A”, dark blue=”B”, light blue=”A to B”, pink=”B to A”. the yellow lines are the hajnal line, of course, just ’cause i can’t help myself anymore.

the large squares represent those individuals who only gave me a general region where they (or their ancestors) were from as opposed to a specific country. so we’ve got “Europe” (which i just positioned in the center of europe), “Northern Europe”, “Western Europe”, and “Eastern Europe”. the large squares should, therefore, not be read as being located in a specific country — they indicate regions only.

the smaller squares represent those individuals who stated their ethnic background. they’re generally just placed in the center of the country that the person indicated (as in the cases of ireland or spain or poland), but sometimes the person was very specific (“germany, baltic coast”), so i went with that. the small red square above the set of larger “N. Europe” squares represents someone who said they were irish + norwegian. the red square (heh!) on the border of germany and poland is a person who said they were from “in between eastern and western europe.” the two blue squares on the border of poland and belarus identified themselves as northern slavs. the small blue square by “W. Europe” is the person who said they were dutch + italian. and the red square on the border of france and spain represents the person who said they were ashkenazi + sephardic jewish.

some squares are floating out in the middle of seas or oceans. *gasp!* those represent people with mixed ancestries, and i tried to position their square approximately equidistant from each of their various nations of origin — like there’s a light blue square out in the atlantic — that person said they were “irish + southern european”. the two small blue squares off the southern tip of sweden are individuals with scottish and russian jewish ancestry.

there are ten individuals treading water in the north sea in between england and the netherlands. they are the following:

– irish + german (A)
– scots + irish + german (A)
– english + euro (A)
– english + german (A)
– english + scottish + german (A)
– irish + scottish + french + swiss + german (B to A)
– english + austrian (B)
– english + scottish + afrikaner (B)
– english + german (B)
– english + german (B)
_____

so, like i said, no obvious pattern(s).

the only hints of patterns that i can maybe see (if i squint really hard) are: 1) more “B” (western) answers from individuals from the broad regions of northern and western europe than those who just said “europe” — no idea what, if anything, that might mean; and 2) in looking at just the british isles, perhaps a trend of more scots and irish individuals + people of mixed ancestry including scots and irish responding “A” than english individuals + people of mixed ancestry including english responding “A”.

consider that, to start with, there are no “B” responses from scotland at all, in ireland the ratio of “A” to “B” answers is 2 to 1, and among the scots irish (in northern ireland there) it’s 2 to 1.5. but in england the ratio is 3 to 1. (extremely small “n” obviously. can’t be counted on for anything!) if we also take into consideration the floaters, all four of the “B” respondents there have some english ancestry (one also has scottish), but four out of the six “A” respondents have some irish and/or scots ancestry. so, maybe, perhaps, kinda/sorta there are more “As” from the scottish and irish than the english. maybe.
_____

i told you. no obvious patterns, really! except for the fact that there are westerners out there who, at least some of the time, think a bit — or a lot — like east asians, i.e. more holistic rather than individualistic.

and you KNOW which groups of europeans i’d put my money on if i were to bet on which ones (if any) think more holistically than the others…*cough*PERIPHERALEUROPEANS*cough*. (~_^)

and while i’m in the mood to gamble my money away, i’d also happily wager that there was a shift from more holistic to more individualist thinking in core europe beginning sometime right around the eleventh century.

that is all! thanks everybody for playing! (^_^)
_____

>> “A” (38) <<
– irish
– irish-american
– irish + german
– irish + norwegian
– scots irish
– scottish
– scottish
– scottish (from twitter)
– scottish + irish + scots irish
– scots + irish + german
– english + euro
– anglo
– anglo
– english + german
– english + scottish + german
– british (aussie. placed in england.)
– german (baltic sea)
– scandinavian
– scandinavian
– swedish + norwegian
– viking-american
– frisian
– northern european
– northern european
– nw euro
– nw european
– north european + europe (off germany)
– westerner (w. euro)
– westerner (w. euro)
– ashkenazi + sephardic jewish
– italian
– between western and eastern european
– eastern european
– hungarian + cuman + jewish
– euro
– european
– multiple euro ethnicities
– white american
NOT INCLUDED IN COUNT OR ON MAP
– scottish/english + amerindian + german
– scottish + lebanese + french
– mostly northern european, also mediterranean, dash of chinese
– south italian + german + native american
– mexican-american
– egyptian
– cameroon
– indo-guyanese + tamil-sri lankan
– chinese
– han chinese
– doesn’t say
– doesn’t say
– doesn’t say
– doesn’t say
– doesn’t say

>> “B” (25) <<
– irish
– scottish + ashkenazi jewish + russian
– scots irish
– english + russian jewish
– english + austrian
– english + scottish + afrikaner
– english + german
– english + german
– southern (american) white
– belgian french
– swedish
– scandinavian
– nw european + finnish
– finnish (swedish-speaking)
– dutch + italian
– slavic
– north slavic
– european
– northern european
– northern european
– northern european
– nw european
– western european
– western european
– western european
NOT INCLUDED IN COUNT OR ON MAP
– english + black + chinese
– black + amerindian + iberian + italian + sephardic jewish
– european + native american
– american
– east asian
– eastern
– a taxonomist
– doesn’t say
– doesn’t say
– doesn’t say
– doesn’t say
– doesn’t say
– doesn’t say (from facebook)

>> “A” to “B” (7) <<
– irish + southern european
– scots irish
– german
– polish
– north european
– iberian
– turkish
NOT INCLUDED IN COUNT OR ON MAP
– dominican + puerto rican (african descent)
– african american

>> “B” to “A” (1) <<
– irish + scottish + french + swiss + german

(note: comments do not require an email. one of these things is not like the other! (~_^) )

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14 Comments

  1. ” black + amerindian + iberian + italian + sephardic jewish”

    Me**

    I trying to understand here, specially for ”happy or unhappy boy” test. You realize that the question was very very clear. The boy is happy or not ** He did not ask if the boy and his friends were happy or not, only about boy.

    I can not accept that there are two alternatives to this issue. The idea of universal human rationality, it really is a great and powerful myth.

    I put in the perspective of someone who responded differently to this question, it may be that these people can not identify the individual, also, as a separate element of context. Then, if the East Asian really are more intelligent than whites, on average, of course, so the smart Caucasian fraction would be more likely to think like an East asians**. Since I read about the Taoist philosophy, I have thought about the many similarities between Western leftism (new cultural left) and this Eastern philosophy. Beautiful, but impossible to have any success in a society with stupid people.

    Reply

  2. My guess is it’s another of those “priors” thing i.e. the guy thought he was measuring western vs east asian but in reality he was measuring default human vs WEIRD where WEIRD are actually a mixture of default and WEIRD.

    If correct a global and larger n version of your map would be all red squares *except* among the hajnalites who would be a mixture of red and blue.

    Reply

  3. Yeah, hi I’m the turkish guy again.

    I think people are making a big deal out of “western”.

    Western is just a position on the map of europe. What I’m saying is that eastern europeans (and turks) are in a lot of ways more asian-thinking than western europeans.

    But what do we mean when we say this? Like greying wanderer mentioned, this has something to do with WEIRDNESS, that is to say, reductionism and categorical thinking.

    So instead of western vs eastern, which are just arbitrary points on the map I suggest you use these new terms:

    Vulcan vs traditional primate

    :P

    Reply

  4. I would not take the results seriously.
    I answered ‘A’ and lean to asian thinking (at least according to the test ;)) but
    1) I actually oppose socialism (thus pro capitalism) and favour (old style) nuclear family. Maybe something like old (century or rather more) “liberal”?
    2) I am a total outlier in my country when it comes to political and cultural affiliation.

    PS: Location: central Europe

    Reply

  5. My guess is that the researchers (probably fairly smart people) who came up with this test tried to make it so that the split would be half and half. So when smart people (such as your readers) take the test we get about half and half. Only when people unlike the researchers (the general public) take the test do we start to get lopsided results.

    Reply

  6. The ”lion test” can be better to analyse this differences. “Westerners” tend to see more the central figure while ”easterners” will likely to see more the peripheral part of picture.

    Reply

  7. If it is default vs WEIRD rather than east vs west then the data might still be informative if treated as a proportion i.e. I wouldn’t be surprised if the proportion of blue followed your theory.

    inner core ~ 50%
    outer core ~ 30%
    periphery ~ 10%
    outside ~ 5%

    Reply

  8. actually, reading it again you mention the possible proportion thing that at the end

    Reply

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