Prickles and Goo: The Bihemispheric Brain and East-West Cultural Differences

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Damato, Crista
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It is often said that Far East Asians engage in holistic perception—meaning that they attend to the entire field, see all things as interrelated, and prefer to rely more on dialectical reasoning than Aristotelian logic. In contrast, western people of European decent are said to be more analytic, paying more attention to the object than the field and creating categories to which things belong in order to create rules and use logic to understand the object's behaviour. I will review research indicating that participating in different social practices leads to shifts in perception. I will briefly review the history of ancient China and Greece, as well as discussing the linguistic and philosophical differences between these cultures with the intention of showing that the differences can be linked to the functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. I suggest that perception is not universal but that the best approach may a relative balance between holistic and analytic cognition and perception.