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Cognitive Styles Across Cultures

Cognitive style refers to an individual’s typical way of using his or her brain to respond mentally to the exigencies of life: perceiving, interpreting, feeling, analyzing, organizing, remembering, deciding, purposing, choosing, and so on. There is wide agreement that each individual applies his or her mental capacity in ways that are characteristically patterned, that constitute his or her style. But this is not the same as saying that each individual is unique.

During the 1950s, researchers began exploring the ways in which human beings’ mental processing is similar and different. The outcome has been a plethora of overlapping dimensions largely in the realm of individual psychology that pay little attention to the influence of culture. Fortunately for interculturalists, around the year 2000 a small group ...

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