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There have been many studies showing cultural differences in thinking and reasoning. This scientific development is mostly based upon the contrasts between Westerners’ analytic cognition and Easterners’ holistic cognition and/or Westerners’ linear thinking and Easterners’ dialectical thinking. Current studies ...

There have been many studies showing cultural differences in thinking and reasoning. This scientific development is mostly based upon the contrasts between Westerners’ analytic cognition and Easterners’ holistic cognition and/or Westerners’ linear thinking and Easterners’ dialectical thinking. Current studies do not only describe the differences but discuss how each thinking style can be adaptive to its culture, how it has been shaped by its philosophical tradition and how people create cultural systems and rules to solve their adaptive problems. Furthermore, the comparison is not only between Westerners and Easterners but between numerous and within countries. With the consideration of socioecological factors in thinking style, these studies can contribute to the complex history of how contemporary cultural diversity has been shaped.

The goal of this Research Topic is to give explanations for the cultural differences in thinking and reasoning and to connect these to a further explanation for how cultural diversity has arisen in the world. Thinking and reasoning are not only influenced by culture (cultural value, cultural practice, morality, religion, custom, etc.) but have created culture including legal and economic systems and have taken an important role in cultural transmission. However, the evidence-base for how culture and thinking interact has much scope for development. There are possibly many kinds of explanations for cultural differences in thinking: Group level factors such as Westerners’ individualistic culture and Easterners’ collectivist culture, factors of philosophical tradition, and geographical and ecological factors. Meanwhile, there is a need to continue gathering new evidence on cultural differences in thinking and in doing so broaden opportunities for cultural exchange in our increasingly globalized societies.

To achieve the goal above, we welcome either empirical, theoretical, or review studies from cognition, cognitive science, cultural psychology, evolutionary psychology, developmental psychology, theoretical and philosophical psychology, indigenous psychology, and anthropological psychology. The core question is how humans (or animals) think and reason in a given culture, on a cultural product (rule, moral and/or religion), or for the creation of cultural systems. Cross-cultural studies are welcomed including comparison of cultural contents (e.g. legal system, television commercials, school textbooks, etc.), but it is not a necessary condition. Authors are encouraged to discuss in what sense human (or animal) thinking and reasoning can be adaptive culturally and to give an implication for history or cultural diversity.

Keywords: reasoning, cross-cultural study, dialectical thinking, dual-process theory, socioecological approach


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