28 May 2022


Article Review: Culture and Causal Cognition

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 895

Pages: 3

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The article, “Culture and Causal Cognition” by Ara Norenzayan and Richard E. Nisbett was aimed at understanding the relationship between culture and the causal cognition and was focused on the East Asian and the Americans. For years, psychologists within the field of the cognitive science tradition have held onto the notion that the primary reasoning process, for instance, the causal attribution are all equal across the entire cultures across the world. Despite the fact that recognizing that the causal belief’s content tends to vary significantly from one culture to another, research has established that the way in which individuals come to make their overall causal judgment seem to be similar to all people, therefore, make same elements of the inferential error. Based on the article, the authors identified a crucial factor, the fundamental attribution error, or FAE which is a unique phenomenon believed to be of utmost significance to the field of social psychology and have been argued to be highly invariable throughout different cultures until recently. Focusing on the phenomenon, FAE it can be used to refer to an individual’s inclination to particular types of behaviors as a result of the dispositions that corresponds to an apparent nature of the behavior. Arguably, such a tendency leads to errors especially in situations where there exist obvious case constraints that might leave very minimal or even no role for the dispositions in behavior production. 

The primary groups that are being compared in the study are the East Asian and the American. It is evident that the two groups, the Americans and the East Asian are from two different countries. First, the American come from the United States while on the other hand, the East Asian originates from one of the countries found in the East Asia. Arguably, the two groups were raised with very different communities as shown from the article. 

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The authors established that it might be tough to adequately demonstrate FAE with the Asian population than the European-American populations. Evidently, the Hindu Indians seem to prefer explaining their common event regarding a particular situational setting that they occur while on the other hand, the Americans preferred to describe comparable dealings concerning an alleged disposition. However, this does not necessarily imply that the Asians rarely uses causal analysis disposition. Most of the recent evidence has shown that in an event where the situational cues are not salient, then it would imply that the Asians increasingly rely on the dispositions and at the same time tend to manifest the FAE to an equal extent as the Westerners. 

The findings of the article established that the Americans and the East Asians clearly tend to understand much behavior regarding their complex interactions existing between an individual’s or object’s dispositions and the contextual factors. On the other hand, the Americans tend to consider social behaviors majorly as the direct recounting of disposition. It is clear that such culturally varying causal theories are deeply rooted in highly all-encompassing, culture-based mentality throughout both the West and East Asia. Evidently, from the article, the Western mindset has been established to be significantly analytic, and greatly focuses its attention on an object and categorizes it by allusion to its unique attribute, and ascribes causality as outlined in the on rules related to it. Focusing on the East, Asian mentally, it was shown to be holistic and attention were specifically focused on the field that the object in question is situated and at the same time ascribe the causality by reference to a relation between a particular field and object. 

It is clear that the cultural variation tends to emerge from a robust East Asian propensity to identify the causal influence of a particular situation. Based on the article, it has been shown that the cultural difference within FAE is highly supported by various folk stories related to the human behavior and its causes. A strongly dispositions philosophy often hold that their overall personality substantially determines the manner in which an individual behaves. A situationist perspective believes that a given situation often determines a behavior of a person that they find themselves in and lastly, an interactionist point of view holds that an individual’s behavior is often jointly determined by his or her situation and personality. It is worth noting that a cultural different within the causal cognition tend to go beyond the interpretations of the human behaviors. The Chinese were established to understand behaviors of a schematically drawn vague physical event while the Americans often explain a given behavior as a result of the properties only. 

The question raised is why both the Americans and Asian often perceive the aspect of causality differently. Scholars believe that since the year 6th century BC the West had a different intellectual tradition than that of the East. While the ancient Greek had a different analytic stance that focused on the attributes and rules, the ancient Chinese had a holistic position where their orientation was towards the field an object has been found and understood the behavior about the field where they are found. In addition to this, the Greek Science was focused on the universal rules to understand events and the Chinese science was significantly concrete and pragmatic. Some scholars have stated that the East Asian mentality has remained holistic compared to that of the Westerners. It follows that the modern day East Asian general population just like olden Chinese, are accustomed to both the circumstance and field when it comes to the determination of events. On the other hand, the Western civilization was shaped by the ancient Greek; therefore, it would follow that the Greek logical position of an object focus spread in the West. Most of the existing studies have supported the argument of the historical evidence that the analytic and the holistic cognition emerged in the individualists and the collectivist orientations respectively. 

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