To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We Have Ways of Moving the Block

A study in the journal Psychological Science purports to tell us why Americans can't get along with the rest of the planet: Class warfare.
The study, though oversimplified compared to real life, was instructive. Keysar and his colleagues arranged two blocks on a table so participants could see both. However, a piece of cardboard obstructed the view of one block so a "director," sitting across from the participant, could only see one block.

When the director asked 20 American participants (none of Asian descent) to move a block, most were confused as to which block to move and did not take into account the director's perspective. Even though they could have deduced that, from the director's seat, only one block was on the table.

Most of the 20 Chinese participants, however, were not confused by the hidden block and knew exactly which block the director was referring to. While following directions was relatively simple for the Chinese, it took Americans twice as long to move a block.

"That strong, egocentric communication of Westerners was nonexistent when we looked at Chinese," Keysar said. "The Chinese were very much able to put themselves in the shoes of another when they were communicating."
Or maybe the Chinese participants come from a society that puts the "chop" in "chop-chop."
"Of course, these are very gross oversimplifications," said Keysar. "Even in America, you can find collectivist societies. For example, working class people tend to be much more collective."
Damn those paper-pushing bourgeoisie and their individualist ways!

Article, headlined "Study: Americans Don't Understand Others," here.

UPDATE: Found a more appropriate photo.

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