Article

The thinking styles of Chinese people

Li-Jun Ji, Albert Lee and Tieyuan Guo

in Oxford Handbook of Chinese Psychology

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199541850
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199541850.013.0012

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The thinking styles of Chinese people

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This article discusses the many important differences in the thinking styles between Chinese and European North Americans (Americans and Canadians of European descent), as Chinese thought processes have always been difficult to comprehend. That is why Westerners have expressed serious curiosity about and appreciation of the philosophical endeavours of the Chinese and the cognitive strategies they use for everyday functioning. The term ‘thinking styles’ represents the ontological frameworks that people use intuitively to make sense of their social world. It describes how Chinese favor a more holistic framework in processing information, whereas European North Americans rely on a more analytical framework that emphasizes the use of formal logic and one-to-one relationships. It further elaborates the concept of zhong yong, or the doctrine of the mean, a concept central to understanding Chinese thinking, which encapsulates the virtues of pursuing the middle ground.

Keywords: thinking style; European North Americans; zhong yong; cultural differences; one-to-one relationships

Article.  8164 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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