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Cultural Influences on Cognition

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Tagged As: Education and Society

Researchers at MIT recently expanded upon the knowledge that different cultures think differently. It had already been shown that Americans and Asians demonstrated a different prowess for making absolute and relative judgment. Using an fMRI scanner revealed that when forced to make judgments outside of their comfort zone, the brains did not utilize the same processing regions to make the new evaluation. John Gabrieli, the research team leader, explains, "Everyone uses the same attention machinery for more difficult cognitive tasks, but they are trained to use it in different ways, and it’s the culture that does the training." The team was "surprised at the magnitude of the difference between the two cultural groups."

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