“Psychologists are uncovering the surprising influence of geography on our reasoning, behavior and sense of self”
By: David Robson
Published: BBC, 19 January 2017, http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170118-how-east-and-west-think-in-profoundly-different-ways
Level of difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU READ
· Individualistic versus collectivistic cultures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkUVe6KzAJUIndividualism versus Collectivism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v5TrCsVql0
1. Which sentence best summarizes the first three paragraphs of the text?
· Hokkaido was very similar to the American Wild West
· Hokkaido was completely unfit for human habitation
· Hokkaido was a very inhospitable place to live
· Hokkaido was tough to reach and live on
· Only the Ainu people were equipped to live on Hokkaido
2. Why was the decision taken to reclaim the island of Hokkaido?
3. What surprising discovery has been made about the residents of Hokkaido? Two answers
4. The example of Hokkaido is provided to support the contention that…………………..
5. What wrong assumption by researchers in the field of psychology probably led to misleading results? The assumption that…
6. Read the two examples that follow and try and explain the reasons why the students acted as they did. Use your own words.
· Consider the following incident that took place in an English class in Japan: Students were asked a question based on a reading passage that had just been covered. Nobody raised their hands to answer. The teacher later discovered that at least a third of the students knew the answer.
· Now consider the following incident which took place during a German class in the US: Students were asked a question based on a reading passage. Most of the class raised their hands. The student who was told to answer the question got it wrong. One student called out the answer and was reprimanded for doing so.
7. Consider the following example: You are walking down the street and you see a woman yelling at a boy and then you see her slap him. He starts to cry and she drags him off home. You react as follows:
· You are angry. You think the mother is abusive and she doesn’t deserve to have kids
· You wonder what the kid has done to deserve a beating
In which case are you thinking holistically?
8. Consider the following list of terms items: pin, needle, thread. Which two would a holistic thinker not choose? Why?
9. Look at this picture of the traffic accident: http://www.istockphoto.com/tr/photo/car-crash-collision-in-urban-street-gm522604359-50853808?st=_p_car%20accident You are a traffic policeman. You see various people standing around. Who would you ask about the cars which are driving away?
10. Second and third generation Turkish immigrants in Germany may experience change in their social orientation because…
11. We understand from the paragraph beginning “But” that the teachings of people like Enlightenment scholars probably led people in Europe and America to focus on…..
12. Read the section of the text comparing the Wild West and Hokkaido. We understand from this section that the independent spirit and increased individualism is fostered by: Select as many as fit.
· The harsh living conditions of the two locations
· Trying to cope with life in these two locations
· The pioneering spirit of the people in these two locations
· The battle with the wilderness in these two locations
13. Consider the following example: A young boy steals some food from a supermarket. Your reaction is to think that he was probably hungry and couldn’t afford food / he was badly brought up and a thief. What kind of a culture have you been brought up in?
14. We understand from the paragraph detailing germ theory that the relationship between social outlook and response to disease is
15. We understand from the section detailing the relationship between crops and social orientation that the more……………..the growing of the crop, the more………………the culture and vice versa.
16. We understand from the same section that the correlation between wheat and rice farming and social orientation is
17. Read the section titled “Cognitive Kaleidoscope”. What function does it serve? How do you know?
Use all that you have learnt to compare and contrast the two forms of social orientation discussed in the text: individualism and collectivism.
HOW EAST AND WEST THINK IN PROFOUNDLY DIFFERENT WAYS; KEY AND TEACHERS’ NOTES
This relatively simple text addresses ways of thinking, perspectives and attitudes which are shared by people in various parts of the world and can lead to a good writing task. The text has also allowed me to write questions including examples that are not in the text to test students’ comprehension.
1. The fourth
2. Because they feared a Russian invasion
3. The frontier spirit still touches the way they think / Their cognitive profile is closer to America than the rest of Japan
4. History, geography and culture can change how we all think in subtle and surprising ways
5. Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic people could represent universal truths about human nature
6. Possible answer: The Japanese culture is collectivist and they tend to underestimate their abilities but the US culture is individualistic and people with such a cultural background thirst for self validation and demonstrate overconfidence
7. The second
8. Pin and needle; there is no functional relationship between them
9. An east Asian
10. Our social orientation is learned from others (in this case Germans and German society)
11. Freedom and independence
12. Two and four
13. Depends on your choice: if you take the first one, you were brought up in a collectivist culture; if you chose the second one, you were brought up in an individualistic society
15. Labour intensive, collectivist
17. It is the conclusion. It goes beyond the text and refers to the future. It is more general than the content of the development