Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Asians Seeing The World Differently?

Yahoo news reported today the results of a study that seemed to show that native Chinese people have different patterns of observing the world than Americans do. The study argued that us Chinese, based on our two thousand year old history of farming rice paddies (farming rice paddies!), pay instinctively more attention to the background of images than Americans who (more individualistic, grape and olive farmers!) spend more time staring at items in the foreground. Whether or not this laboratory found significant results is largely irrelevant (although of course, we readers should always take second hand reporting of scientific findings with a grain of salt since we are never told the methods of the experimentation and therefore cannot judge how reliable the results are), what should be considered is how this experiment seems to correlate their findings with massive, model minority myth assumptions of Asians. Scientific studies that find some obscure difference between cultures and races may have some merit, but what about when those studies are used to further perpetuate some racist stereotype?


Anonymous Kaede said...

I read the same thing on the BBC just a minute ago tho it made no reference to rice paddies....(is that something that Yahoo just made up?) Rather, it commented on the complex social interactions and the need to contextualise in Eastern societies as opposed to the individualistic thinking of the West which causes people to focus more on the details rather than the 'whole', leaving out the (to my mind) stereotypical agricultural references altogether.

Now, I don't doubt that we see things differently but making reference to things like that, which I don't see having anything to do with the issue, doesn't make one believe in it any more than any other hypothesis that's floating around out there with vague proofs.

8/23/2005 05:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Rtother said...

What about Asian Americans? It mentioned European Americans. Perhaps then it could be attributed more to culture or innate population differences. Well, this website makes some mention of it

8/25/2005 07:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Rtother said...

I know that you're not calling for a moratorium on population difference research, but certain
people on the left are. While they have some legitimate concerns, they are like the religious right when it comes to standing in the way of scientific progress that can greatly help humanity.

speech pretty much conveys my thoughts on education the public about science.

8/25/2005 07:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Rtother said...

Dang it. Below are the links I meant to post.

Here is the first one

This is the second one.

8/25/2005 07:27:00 PM  
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