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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rule-based vs. intuitive reasoning : culture, reasoning style, & values Buchtel, Emma E.


Are cultural differences in use of intuitive vs. analytical reasoning also reflected in social values? The results of the following studies show that East Asians are more likely to approve of an intuitive decision-maker than Westerners, suggesting that East Asian and Western differences in preference for intuitive vs. analytical reasoning are accompanied by different injunctive norms. These norms, however, are also shown to vary as a function of the interpersonality of the situation in both cultures. In this study, Euro- and East-Asian-Canadian undergraduates read scenarios of intuitive vs. rule-following business decisions. East Asian-and Euro-Canadians showed no differences in judging the intuitive decision-maker when the scenario was perceived by both cultures to be highly social. However, East Asians were more approving of an intuitive decision-maker than Euro-Canadians in a second scenario, which was perceived to be more social by East Asians than by Euro-Canadians. Findings suggest that culturally different cognitive tendencies may be reflected in cultural values, and that the root of these cognitive and value differences may lie in the number of situations that are perceived to be social and thus universally best solved by non-analytical means. We explore consequences for the understanding of the co-constitution of mind and culture, the influence of values on cross-cultural understanding, and philosophical debates on epistemic justification.

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