Special Session Summary Beyond Individualism/Collectivism: New Insights on Eastern and Western Thinking Styles



Citation:

Lydia J. Price (2001) ,"Special Session Summary Beyond Individualism/Collectivism: New Insights on Eastern and Western Thinking Styles", in AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4, eds. Paula M. Tidwell and Thomas E. Muller, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 190.

Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4, 2001      Page 190

SPECIAL SESSION SUMMARY

BEYOND INDIVIDUALISM/COLLECTIVISM: NEW INSIGHTS ON EASTERN AND WESTERN THINKING STYLES

Lydia J. Price, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong

 

PAPERS AND AUTHORS:

"FILIAL PIETY OR RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM? EMOTIONAL INTENSITY AS A REFLECTION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTANCE IN THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA AND AMERICA"

Nancy Y. Wong and Richard P. Bagozzi

 

"CULTURE, EDUCATION AND COGNITION: A REVIEW AND DISCUSSION OF CHINESE VERSUS AMERICAN COGNITIVE STYLES"

Lydia J. Price and Donnel Briley

 

"CONFIDENCE AND ACCURACY WHEN RECOGNIZING BRAND INFORMATION: IS THERE A DIFFERENCE ACROSS CULTURES?"

Elizabeth Cowley

 

ABSTRACT -

Research to date on Chinese versus Western consumer psychology has focused heavily on the construct of individualism/collectivism to explain a wide range of behaviors. Despite the appeal and power of collectivism for understanding the Asian consumer, researchers have begun to look for a broader set of variables that can provide a deeper understanding of cross-cultural differences. The papers in this session presented several new perspectives. Nancy Wong discussed filial piety as a moderator of felt emotions toward others. This work is important in highlighting the distinctions in social roles that underpin various kinship and friendship relations in both the United States and China. As such, it goes beyond the simple assumption often found in individualism/collectivism research that collectivists are uniformly sensitive to all members of their social groups, while Americans are less socially sensitive and fail to make ingroup/outgroup distinctions. The work offers subtle and informative insights on the nature of social relationships across cultures. Lydia Price argued that education systems provide a useful metaphor for studying culture’s influence on judgment and decision making. Schools are a natural conduit for cultural values, which they instill by means of soial rewards and punishments in the form of grades. Moreover, a primary focus of socialization efforts within the school system is on cognitive skills and habits. A comparison of Chinese and American education practices was presented in order to highlight important differences in how students are taught to structure and interpret information. Elizabeth Cowley offered a clear example of one such education-instilled difference in cognitive styles. Building from the premise that a Chinese education emphasizes literal memorization of text information while a western education emphasizes abstract understanding of text without explicit memorization, she argues for cross-cultural differences in memory of complex brand information. Consistent with her hypotheses, she finds that Chinese consumers, as compared to Australians, have more accurate memory for brand descriptions and they also are better able to assess their own level of accuracy. Australians, on the other hand, seem to have a more abstract sense of having seen information before, without having an explicit memory for it. These differences hold important implications for brand management across cultures so as to assure accurate brand memory among consumers.

Overall, the session examined independent and dependent variables that are of interest to cross-cultural research yet have received little attention in the literature to date. Following these presentations, audience discussion continued the debate about culture’s origins and influences, as well as the best way to pursue cross-cultural consumer research in future. The authors hope their presentations and the following discussion will stimulate others to look beyond the models of culture that are currently dominant in the literature to obtain a deeper understanding of cross-cultural consumer behavior.

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Authors

Lydia J. Price, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong



Volume

AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4 | 2001



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