Finishing Geography of Though lead me to noticed a few more things in life, somethings in particular which I had taken for granted, and somethings that I had never noticed or known before.
The book identifies between two groups of people: Easterners and Westerners. However, the terminology is not accurately used. Westerners consist of Europeans and Americans, whilst Easterners consist of Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. Here, the term Easterners is subjected to a very limited scope, but the author has explained his terms of usage in the introduction section.
Perhaps one of the most exciting discoveries is that easterners are able to spot the connection between two items more easily. Wow, is this really true? It's been shown through experimental data and at a very significant level as well (in the context of Chinese, Japanese and Koreans). Though, I'm not mainland Chinese, so how do I fit into the equation? But perhaps my ancestors have managed to "pass down" much of the Chinese tradition, so I may have been subject to certain customary changes, but not much changes in the terms of cognition. In my personal opinion, the greatest common denominator of Chinese around the world is this: we survive anywhere and anytime. You can find Chinese people on any country in the world, and it's an inevitable truth that Chinese have managed to survive on any spot they "land on". It's just sad that China didn't offer the proper opportunities in the past, causing many to illegally ship out or migrate. Imagine what China could have prospered into if the opportunities had been present?
Enough of how "great" Chinese are, and back to the topic of identifying relationships between objects. I have found this part to me very similar in how my thought processing goes. Okay, firstly, I love the spreading activation theory, which comes from my love of Hebbian Learning Theory, which are both connectionist models, and which I really think carries a lot of weight on how people keep a metal note on items within memory. Of course, I don't know that as a fact, but I do know that it's how I have been organizing my thoughts since, actually I'm not sure. It may be due to the learning of Hebbian Learning Theory that made me organize facts in such a way. But nonetheless, I find it extremely useful to connect items together, whether it's in context, taxomology, situational criteria and any other moments that may present themselves to me. Basically, I love to connect dots together, even though they may not be seemingly related to each other on the surface level, but I think there is always a connection waiting to be established, because when human factors come into play, it's just like throwing away that "limitation of variables thingy". The rule changes into more like a: taking in every possibility you can think of, at every angle. Great aint it? Some people think that only computers can think that way, and a human being should not try to do such a task. I think not, I think that we can train ourselves to think faster and more efficiently by "chunking" information in our brain. Plus, the power of heuristics allows us to access short cuts, which computers do not have.
I get surprised when people tell me that I've found an intriguing point of view, one that they didn't find before, and I think wow, I did something nice. But, then I read the book, and it turns out that people in my culture, normally have this type of ability, when compared to westerners. But, the case is, I don't really have any westerners to compare to, because I live in south-east asia. Unless of course a group of westerners hires me to do some work for them and we brainstorm and all that, then I could have the opportunity to establish a viable observation from personal experience.
Isn't that just weird? I like observing stuff. That reminds me of Jean Piaget, who observed children. Oh, the other day, back in melaka, back in a fish shop, I was looking at these two Toman fish in a very big erm...what's it called? Oh, fish tank, how silly of me, lol. Toman are these huge fish, like 3 feet long and with razor sharp teeth, and when I say razor I mean that they bite off your finger once you dip it into the water. Cool, eh? Well, I was staring at those two fishes swimming in the tank for a whole half an hour, and if I said it was boring, I would be lying! I freaking enjoyed it! OMG, am I going crazy? Those two fish were just so damned cute. They swam around the tank, then had some kind of greeting call. Like when they got near to each other, they would do something like WAGGING their tails! Serious! Just go look at them long enough and they'll do it! But please watch from the safety of outside the tank? Or you won't even get your ashes back.
Another great thing about the book, it told me why Chinese are so damned good at mathematics. Well, it turns out that it's actually a myth. Probably one that is being reinforced by all those Chinese students in MIT who get average of 95% on each paper they take, and it's all on Math. Wow, omg, lol. Hmm...so why is it a myth? Because, there is such thing as hard work, and it seem that easterners believe in that in a far more concrete way. One thing that is often overlooked is that Chinese Mathematical instruction is superior to that of the western style. 0_o. so maybe that's why, the teachers are teaching in better methods, or at least methods that produce more results. If you haven't been to a Chinese primary school, you just can't imagine the work that we go through just to do math. Okay, i'll give you a small picture. There are 12 complete test exercises in one book. My class, each person, had to finish one book, in two weeks. So we did, 2 books every month. So by the end of the year, minus school holidays and stuff, we used up around 15 exercise books already. Freaky? No, we had monthly tests too.
And a year end one to go with that too...
Seems that westerners deduce an individual more on the basis of: attributes. It's like building a person with some attributes, and that the person's attributes don't change over his/her lifetime. So if the person has aptitude in math, he/she will show it at an early age, same with all other attributes. You think it's true? Not me, but studies show that many westerners have the type of attitude towards people, in general of course. It's shown through newspaper reports, they way they talk about someone, self-description, and bla bla bla, any thing that cognition influences, which is everything! Wow, a big wakey wakey there for a lot of people. How come westerners attribute people like that? Really, I had NO idea it was like that. Maybe it's because of the school system, where they nurture student's best qualities rather than trying to improve on all qualities? It makes sense that way. Because you're not pushing the person to be hardworking as in work your butt off to get those A's or you'll be grounded until you're 24. But it's more like, wow you can do very well on that subject, keep up the good work, that kind of thing. Interesting ways of teaching, eh? Totally complete contrasts. The best thing is, both teachers would tell you, "Don't teach me how to teach my students. I know best for them." But which ones actually turn out to be good? Well take this as food for thought: Asians excel in school, but are very rarely outstanding in career; whilst westerners very rarely excel in school, but are outstanding in career. So which one is better? Ah-hah! You don't know, do you? Because both have pros and cons. That's life!
Geography of thought, geography, that subject bored me to bits. I had no motivation to study at all. Always got Cs for that subject, didn't care anyways, lol. Well one intuition that I got from this book, and I really thank Nisbett for putting together such an excellent book, is that babies younger than 2 months old show the same cognitive patterns! WOW! COOL!
That means that: there is a similarity of cognition of humans! YAY! My goal in psychology is orientated on studying cognition of humans. That was like a thumbs up for me to head for that goal. It's so cool. Yippee :D
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