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date: 18 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Growing evidence has demonstrated cultural differences in cognitive processes. Whereas individuals living in interdependent social worlds, as illustrated by East Asian cultures, have been shown to have a more holistic cognitive style, those living in independent social environments, as exemplified by Western cultures, have been shown to have a more analytic cognitive style. Recent evidence has also begun to show the mechanisms underlying cultural differences, both by examining within-cultural differences and by showing effects of sociocultural contexts on cognitive processes. This chapter aims to highlight dynamic relationships between sociocultural contexts and cognitive processes by providing an overview of research on cultural differences and their mechanisms. First, we briefly summarize different approaches to studying cultural differences in cognition. Then, we review studies showing cultural differences in various cognitive processes, by focusing on holistic versus analytic cognition. Finally, we outline recent evidence showing the causes and mechanisms of cultural differences, as well as suggest future directions.

Keywords: culture, cognition, holistic and analytic cognition, mechanisms

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