NieHaiyan对思维版图的述评
作者: NieHaiyan / 5162次阅读 时间: 2011年12月27日
来源: saintson翻译 标签: 尼斯贝特 思维版图 思维差异
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一个在美国的中国人对思维版图的述评应该更有新意

Brock Education

布鲁克大学教育 Vol. 13, No. 2, 2004

2004年第13卷第2期 BOOK REVIEW

书评 The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why

《思维的版图:东西方思维差异及其原因》 Richard E. Nisbett. New York: The Free Press, 2003

理查德·E·尼斯贝特著。纽约:自由出版公司,2003年出版。

Reviewed by Haiyan Nie, Brock University

布鲁克大学的聂海燕(译者注:音译)

综述 It is a general psychological assumption that the central processing mechanism, which enables people to think, experience, act, and learn, is universal. Mainstream psychologists believe that people across cultures and races have the same basic cognitive processes and rely on the same tools for perception, causal analysis, categorization, and inference. Decontextualized reasoning is the accepted standard process and procedure of reasoning. However, cultural psychology suggests an alternative discipline for interpretation of the fundamentals of the mind. Cultural psychologist Richard Nisbett of the University of Michigan explains such a perspective in his book The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why. He argues that people in different cultures not only think about different things, but also think differently. In a series of studies carried out in the United States, Japan, China, and Korea, Nisbett and his colleagues found that “there are indeed dramatic differences in the nature of Asian and European thought process” (p.xviii).

有这样一个普遍的心理假设:中央处理机制普遍存在的,使人们得以思考、经历、行动和学习。主流心理学家相信,不同文化背景和种族的人都有相同的基本认知过程,并且依赖相同的知觉、因果分析、分类和推理的工具。脱离语境的推理是公认的标准的推理过程和程序。然而,文化心理学提出了一个解释思维的基础的备选规律。密歇根大学的文化心理学家理查德·尼斯贝特,在他的专著《思维的版图:东西方思维差异及其原因》解释了这样的观点。他还说,不同文化背景的人不但考虑不同的事物,而且思考的方式也不同。通过在美国、日本、中国、韩国进行的一系列研究,尼斯贝特和他的同事发现,“亚洲和欧洲思维过程有着巨大的本质差异”(第xviii页)。

The eight chapters that compose The Geography of Thought map the habits of thought. The author states that Easterners are more holistic in perceiving the world and Westerners more analytic. Further to the point, the holistic way of thinking lies in East Asians’ broader view, focusing on the context and situation in which an object and a person are involved and the relationships among objects and people. They look at parts in relation to the whole, and believe in constant change. The other side of the coin is that Westerners zero in on a salient object and tend to categorize the object. They believe that they can control events by knowing rules that govern objects. They treat the world as static.

《思维的版图》共有八章,描绘了思想习惯的地域性。作者提出,东方人的世界观更多强调整体,西方人的世界观更多侧重分析。继而,作者指出,整体的思维方式,在于东亚洲人的视野更宽广,关注的焦点是事物和人所处的背景和情境以及事物和人之间的关系。他们认为部分与整体是有联系的,相信事物是不断变化的。相反,西方人集中精力在一个突出的事物,而且倾向于把事物进行分类。他们相信,通过掌握支配事物的规律,他们可以控制事件。他们认为世界是静止的。

In Chapters One to Three, Nisbett documents the literature through which the cognitive disparities between East and West can be traced. The theme that penetrates through the chapters is ancient Greek agency vs. ancient Chinese harmony. Agency has promoted the individual identity, a sense of debate, and a curiosity about nature of the Greeks, while harmony developed the collective agency, concern with unity and self-control, and lack of wonder of the Chinese. Two giant figures in ancient philosophy, Aristotle and Confucius, are taken as the examples to explore the philosophical roots of the two approaches to the world. The comparison of social aspects of the two ancient nations leads to the conclusion that the drastically different original physical surroundings, agricultural structure, economic infrastructures, social structures, focus and understanding of the nature of the world, worldviews, and different ways of thinking determine and generate one another, and are dependent on each other as well. The goal of reasoning is the discovery of truth for the Greeks and the Middle Way for the Chinese. The author also investigates how the sense of self differs between East and West. Nisbett points out that Asians are more interdependent, considering self as “a part of a larger whole” (p.76), while Westerners are more independent, thinking of self as “a unitary free agent” (p.76).

第一章至第三章,尼斯贝特记录了那些可以追溯的反应东西方的认知差异的文学。章节中渗透着一个主题是古希腊的个人主义和古代中国的“和”的对比。个人主义促进了个体的认同、辩论意识和希腊人骨子里的好奇心,而“和”发展了集体主义、团结和自我控制,以及中国很少惊讶。作者以两个古代哲学巨人——亚里士多德和孔子为例,来探讨两种认知世界方法的哲学根基。作者通过比较两个国家的社会各个方面的比较,得出如下结论。截然不同的原始物理环境、农业结构、基础经济结构、社会结构、关注的焦点和世界本质的理解、世界观和不同的思维方式依次决定和产生,且相互依存。推理的目标是希腊人的真理至上和中国中庸之道的发现。作者还探讨了东西方如何自我感知的区别。尼斯贝特指出,亚洲人更加相互依存,把自我看作是“一个更大的整体的一部分“(第76页),而西方人则比较独立,把自我看作是“一个单一的自由人“(第76页)。

Chapters Four to Seven make up the core of the book, with citations from cognitive psychological studies conducted by the author and other researchers. This practical backup sparks readers’ greater interest in the topic and nourishes their thoughts. One of the studies, of responses to animated underwater vignettes, demonstrates Asians’ “wide-angle lens” view and Westerners’ “tunnel vision” (p. 89). Participants in this study–students at Kyoto University and the University of Michigan were exposed to an underwater scene in which there are one or more bigger and fast-moving focal fish as well as some not-so-fast-moving animals and background objects. Americans and Japanese made about an equal number of references to the focal fish, but the Japanese made more references to the background objects than Americans do. Americans attended more to the focal fish.

第四章至第七章构成了本书的核心,引用了作者和其他研究人员进行的认知心理研究。这一实用的证明点燃了读者对这一主题以更大的兴趣,并丰富了他们的思维。这些研究的其中之一是,受试者(京都大学和密歇根大学的学生)对生机勃勃的水下虚光照的反应,说明了亚洲人“广角镜”的观点和西方人的“视野狭隘”(第89页)。在这项研究中,京都大学和密歇根大学的学生观看一个水下场景,其中有处于焦点位置的一个个头更大游动快速的鱼,以及一些移动不那么快速的动物和背景物体。数量相当的美国人和日本人报告了处于焦点位置的鱼,但是,比美国学生数量更多的日本学生报告了背景物体。美国学生更多地关注处于焦点位置的鱼。

The final chapter presents the implications of the findings for psychology, philosophy, and society. Although it adds insights to research in cultural psychology, it may be more instructional for educators, particularly faculty members who are confused about Asian or international students’ writing style. Professors may find that the way Asian or international students develop their arguments and draw conclusions does not follow Western logic. Cognitive differences can be reflected in writing, since it mirrors the way of thinking. Understanding that another approach to argument and logic exists provides a key to making connections between the Eastern and Western academic culture and can promote a more multicultural campus. For Asian or international students, this book offers insights into some problems in their studies and can enhance their academic growth in more structured ways.

最后一章介绍了这些发现对心理学、哲学和社会结果的启示。虽然它增加了在文化心理学研究的见解,但是它可能对教学教育工作者,特别是对亚洲或国际学生的写作风格感到困惑的教师更有指导意义。教授们可能会发现在亚洲或国际学生发展自己的论据和得出结论的方式并不遵循西方的逻辑。因为写作反映了思维方式,所以它可以体现认知的差异。理解另一个论证和逻辑方法的存在,为联系东西方间的学术文化提供了一把钥匙,并且可以促进更多元文化的校园。对于亚洲或国际学生来说,这本书为他们学习中遇到的若干问题提供了深刻的见解,可以以更有条理的方式加强他们的学术成长。

Loaded with vivid pictures and fresh thoughts on cognitive differences between East and West, the book ends with the author’s question about the future of the world. With globalization, is divergence or convergence going to be the trend? Nisbett believes in the blended, but transformed, representation of the two. It is interesting to see this more Eastern view (Middle Way) perceived by a Western scholar. This is also the goal of the book, to foster better understanding between East and West that will complement and enrich both.本书用生动的图片和新鲜的思维揭示了东西方之间的认知差异,本书以作者的关于世界的未来的问题作为结束语。随着全球化的发展,是分歧继续还是全盘西化将成为趋势?尼斯贝特认为,世界未来将走向融合,但是东西方的代表都将转变。有趣的是,一个西方学者持有这个更具东方特色的观点(中庸之道)。这也是本书的目标,增进东西方的了解,两者将互相补充,丰富彼此。

The Geography of Thought is quite a good read. Its informative and insightful content can remove blocks to cross-cultural understanding and bridge Eastern and estern communication. As a student from Asia, I have a great interest in the cultural differences encountered in my studying and living in the West, but it used to be just the simple comparison of facts. This book opens my mind to a subtler and deeper understanding of both Eastern and Western culture. It replaces my prejudice and resistance toward an alien culture with appreciation and helps me understand more of who I am. “Agency vs. harmony” has activated a link in my heart to a more diversified and harmonious world.

《思维的版图》非常值得一读。其信息丰富、见解精辟的内容可以消除跨文化的理解的障碍,并搭建东西方交流的桥梁。作为一个来自亚洲的学生,我对在西方学习和生活过程中遇到的文化差异有极大的兴趣,但过去只有简单的事实比较。这本书开启了我的心智,将我带入到一个对东西方文化的更微妙且更深入的理解中。它是我摒弃了对异族文化的偏见和抵制,取而代之的是对异族文化的赞赏,同时帮助我更好地理解我是谁。 “个人主义与和”已在我心中搭建了通往一个更多元化更和谐世界的桥梁。

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