5 Cultural Differences between East and West 1. Fearing Russian invasion, the Japanese government decided to reclaim the country’s northland, recruiting former Samurai to settle Hokkaido. Before Emperor Meiji decided to populate the island, the only people to live in Hokkaido were the indigenous Ainu (Credit: Getty Images). Whereas Japanese people from other islands were more likely to explore the context – such as the pressure to succeed – the Hokkaido Japanese were more likely to blame the player’s personality or a flaw in his moral character. He is particularly pleased that researchers like Talhelm are beginning to set up big projects to try to understand the kaleidoscope of different ways of thinking. Growing rice requires far greater cooperation: it is labour-intensive and requires complex irrigation systems spanning many different farms. “We agree on the illness. Beyond the average income, money is proven to add almost nothing to your overall well being. The divide did not seem to correlate with measures of wealth or modernisation, but he noticed that one difference could be the kind of staple crop grown in the region: rice in most southern areas, and wheat in the north. People living in individualistic societies may also put more emphasis on personal choice and freedom. In 2008, Corey Fincher (now at the University of Warwick) and colleagues analysed global epidemiological data to show a region’s score of individualism and collectivism appear to correlate with disease prevalence: the more likely you are to get infection, the more collectivist you are, and the less individualistic. Western philosophy is mainly used in the Western parts of the world, such as in the European countries, while the Eastern philosophy is prevalent in Asian countries. “Westerners – and specifically Americans – were coming out at the far end of the distributions,” says Joseph Henrich at the University of British Columbia, who was one of the study’s authors. “Americans tend to draw themselves very large,” Talhelm says. This was true even at the borders between different regions. Suppose you are asked to name the two related items in a list of words such as “train, bus, track”. Here are five cultural differences in thinking and perception between the East and West. Eastern philosophy takes more of a spiritual approach while Western philosophy is more hands-on. Could these differences translate to a more collectivist or individualistic mindset? “Not a leaf was stirred, not the chirping of a bird or a living thing.” It was, he thought, a timeless place, straight out of pre-history. The differences between Eastern and Western thought can be clearly seen in modern society, despite globalization and unifying influences. Sure enough, Shinobu Kitayama at the University of Michigan has found that people in Hokkaido tend to place a higher value on independence and personal achievement – and emotions such as pride – than Japanese people from other islands, and they were less concerned about the views of others. Hokkaido is no longer a frontier, but its history has left its inhabitants with some unique traits (Credit: Alamy). Almost all the people he questioned are not directly involved in farming, of course – but the historical traditions of their regions are still shaping their thinking. We’re taught that in many ways, more stuff gives more happiness. The tacit assumption had been that this select group of people could represent universal truths about human nature – that all people are basically the same. The Eastern philosophy is drawn much more into groups or society or people’s actions and thoughts as one in order to find meaning in life as they try to get rid of the false “me” concept and find meaning in discovering the true “me” in relation to everything around them, or as part of a bigger scheme. Meanwhile, Western philosophy focuses on ethics. The main principle of the Eastern philosophy is unity. Intriguingly, this distinction could also be seen in children’s drawings from Japan and Canada, suggesting that the different ways of seeing emerge at a very young age. Instead of adding more and more “stuff” to their lives to find happiness, many people are taught that simplifying and connecting within (meditation) give the real satisfaction that humans crave. “You want a theory that explains why different populations have different psychologies.”, But despite the good intentions, further progress has been slow. Generally speaking - there are many exceptions - people in the West tend to be more individualist, and people from Asian countries like India, Japan or China tend to be more collectivist. These concepts are a running thread through many eastern and western cultural differences. Moreover, Western philosophy takes its roots from Rome and Christianity, specifically Judeo-Christianity. In contrary, the Eastern philosophy is based mainly in Asia, more specifically the Chinese philosophy. To confirm the “voluntary settlement theory”, however, psychologists would want to examine a second, independent, case study as a counterpoint. “Here are people in nearby counties, but one farms rice one farms wheat – and we still found cultural differences.”, He has since tested his hypothesis in India, which also shows a clear divide in wheat and rice growing regions, with similar results. Even so, the subtle variation between individual countries suggests that many other surprising factors are also at work. Media use, in particular, tended to be the biggest predictor of the shift. Apart from geographical locations, these two parts of the world have differences in their way of life and the approach to life in general. They also asked people to draw a diagram demonstrating their relationships to their friends and associates: people in individualistic societies tend to draw themselves as bigger than their friends, whereas collectivists tend to make everyone the same size. This would be explained with the selfless approach to life. In order to be liberated, the inner self must be freed first in accordance to the world around it. The difference is the “I” of the West, and the “We” of the East, as one focuses on finding truth and meaning. A holistic thinker, in contrast, would say “train” and “track”, since they are focusing on the functional relationship between the two – one item is essential for the other’s job. How East and West think in profoundly different ways, influential article in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, our social orientation may have a genetic element, recently profiled the thinking styles of British Bangladeshi families in East London, score higher on measures of individualism, Shinobu Kitayama at the University of Michigan has found, : the more likely you are to get infection, the more collectivist you are. There is no comparison between the “west” and the East, sorry. Read about our approach to external linking. But perhaps the most surprising theory comes from the farmyard. The reason behind it is the difference between Eastern and Western philosophy. Thanks to the time and money it takes to probe minds across the globe, most research still examines Weird participants at the expense of greater diversity. David Robson is BBC Future’s feature writer. This tendency for self-inflation appears to be almost completely absent in a range of studies across East Asia; in fact, in some cases the participants were more likely to underestimate their abilities than to inflate their sense of self-worth. The main differences between the school of thought or the philosophies of the East and West are the West’s Individualism and the East’s Collectivism. * Eastern philosophy is a group of philosophies and religions originating in Asia – China, India, Japan, Southeast Asia, and Arabic countries ** Through Christianity originated in Asia geographically, culturally it's considered to be a Western religion that originated in the Mediterranean region Ethics is based on behavior, and dependence is from the inside to the outside. The question is what the solution should be.”. Matt is the content manager of the Sivana blog, an enthusiastic Yoga teacher, and life voyager. Interestingly, this lines up quite well with the east; simplicity is the key. Most western culture has the following belief structure: More money, more vacations, more cars, more houses, more food, more sex, more power. If we are truly the most advanced culture, wouldn’t everyone adopt our way of thinking eventually? They are more individualistic, prouder of success, more ambitious for personal growth, and less connected to the people around them. Follow your favorite authors and more! Basically, Western philosophy is referred to as the school of thought from Greek philosophy that influenced the greater part of  Western civilization. In 2010, an influential article in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences reported that the vast majority of psychological subjects had been “western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic”, or ‘Weird’ for short. When questioned about their attitudes and behaviours, people in more individualistic, Western societies tend to value personal success over group achievement, which in turn is also associated with the need for greater self-esteem and the pursuit of personal happiness. “How amazing it is that this rich and beautiful country, the property of one of the oldest and most densely populated nations of the world… should have remained so long unoccupied and almost as unknown as the African deserts,” he added. Talhelm said he was first inspired by his own experiences in the country. The western mantra is “more”, and has been for a long time. Thus, if we talk about philosophy, we talk about a school of thoughts. Another (counterintuitive) idea is that the contrasting mind-sets are an evolved response to germs. It’s important to emphasise that these are just broad trends across vast numbers of people; there will have been a spectrum within each population studied. and updated on May 10, 2018, Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects, Differences Between Eastern and Western Philosophy, Differences Between Fraternity And Sorority, Difference Between Eastern Religions and Western Religions, Difference Between Chinese and Western Culture, Difference Between Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity, Difference Between Eastern and Pacific Time, Differences Between East and West Coast Swing, Difference Between Pulmonary Infiltrate and Effusion, Difference Between Herd Immunity and Ring Immunity, Difference Between Hemoptysis and Dyspnea, Difference Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3, Difference Between LCD and LED Televisions, Difference Between Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, Difference Between Civil War and Revolution. Western philosophy, on the other hand, is based on self-dedication to be of service to others.