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I am reading a book called the righteous mind by the moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt, and in one of the chapters he discusses how the perception and thinking style of Westerners is different from that of Asians. Specifically, he says:

Westerners see the world as full of separate objects, rather than relationships. It has long been reported that Westerns have a more independent and autonomous concept of the self than do East Asians. For example, when asked to write twenty statements beginning with the words “I am …,” Americans are likely to list their own internal psychological characteristics (happy, outgoing, interested in jazz), whereas East Asians are more likely to list their roles and relationships (a son, a husband, an employee of Fujitsu).

Then Jonathan Haidt goes on by saying:

Related to this difference in perception is a difference in thinking style. Most people think holistically (seeing the whole context and the relationships among parts), but WEIRD people (Westerners) think more analytically (detaching the focal object from its context, assigning it to a category, and then assuming that what’s true about the category is true about the object). Putting this all together, it makes sense that WEIRD philosophers since Kant and Mill have mostly generated moral systems that are individualistic, rule-based, and universalist

Can someone explain clearly what he means in the last quotation by saying: "but WEIRD people (Westerners) think more analytically (detaching the focal object from its context, assigning it to a category, and then assuming that what’s true about the category is true about the object)."

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    $\begingroup$ Related (to WEIRD psychology): meaning Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic psychology.stackexchange.com/q/26050/7604 $\endgroup$ Aug 9 at 7:45
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. I think that seeing the WEIRD population as analytical as opposed to holistic thinking of Asians is a generalisation which doesn't often ring true from my experience. But, I will be interested in what research comes out of this, if anything $\endgroup$ Aug 9 at 7:55
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    $\begingroup$ He seems to be saying that WEIRD people tend to stereotype and make overgeneralizations. $\endgroup$
    – DJG
    Aug 13 at 20:23
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    $\begingroup$ @DJG thanks, that really helped to get it. $\endgroup$ Aug 14 at 19:19

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