Thursday, 9 June 2011

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but this semester I'm taking an elective in Psychology, titled 'Psychology of Everyday Thinking'.

And I've come to a real amusing realisation- that more often than not, I identify as a Westerner.

It's not that I voluntarily do it, it's just that most of the theories used to differentiate cultures use Western culture as a benchmark, and I find that most of the time, I would be classified as someone belonging to a Western culture.


Take for example this short test that he gave us.

Nominate / strike out the one that least fits with the other two.

1. Man                Woman                 Baby
2. Grass              Chicken                 Cow
3. Car                 Steering wheel       Bend
4. Wood             Paper                    Axe
5. Panda             Banana                  Monkey

Anyway, there were two general ways that people would go for.

People from Western cultures would most probably strike out:

1. Baby
2. Grass
3. Bend
4. Axe
5. Banana

That's because Western cultures are object-oriented, see people as individuals and thus are labelled individualist.


On the other hand, someone from Eastern cultures are more group-oriented, consider others and their impact on others, and are considered collectivist. So they see how things influence each other, and they would strike out (here's the difference between individualism and collectivism):

1. Man
2. Chicken
3. Car
4. Paper
5. Panda

There were other comparisons as well where he asked us in class, and most (if not all) I would be seen as someone from a Western culture.

While it doesn't surprise me that I gravitate towards Western ideology and thought, it was amusing to see that physically, I look different to the locals, but yet, I don't exactly feel very different to them because I've been exposed to Western culture so much. But then of course, there's a big, deep pool of difference because I have, after all, been much more exposed to an Eastern culture as well.

It's like that whole dilemma again- it seems like I never completely fit in to one group and am always stuck in between.
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