Month: November 2018

Building, Defending, & Maintaining Culture

The full story may not be out, but it appears that a Southwest Airlines gate agent acted inappropriately when she saw an unexpected name for a child. When a mother names a child with an unusual name that is not obvious how to pronounce, she might expect unusual reactions, but apparently the gate agent went

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Cultural Differences in Reading Context

It appears that culture heavily influences how well people incorporate the context of an environment versus how well they can filter out the context to focus on a prominent object.  This has been illustrated in eye measurements of Asians versus North Americans as they evaluate photographs, of Japanese & Americans recalling foreground objects versus background

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Look Below the Surface

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” How many times have you heard this? If something is functioning well, why mess with it? This complacency attitude leads to stagnation at best, disaster at worst. In 2007 a formidable fighter in the US arsenal experienced a catastrophic break-up during a routine flight. It turns out a

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Can You “Unhear” Confirmation Bias?

You are constantly changing…the “You” before you heard the recording and the “You” after the recording are like 2 different beings. Once we hold a pattern in our brains, it becomes very difficult to undo it, & our brain will easily seek out similar patterns. When we acquire a certain belief, we’ll see things that

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East-West Differences in Reasoning

Can something be true and not true at the same time? East Asian & Western philosophies have had very different ways of answering this question that still affects the ways people in various cultures reason. The collectivist culture of Asia emphasizes harmony & a constantly changing environment in which contradictions are natural, & truth depends

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The Power of Thankfulness

Thankfulness empowers us. Thankfulness brings positive outcomes. Thankfulness is a powerful tool for leaders. Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage is an excellent resource that you can find here: He also has one of the most popular TED talks with over 18 million views on the subject, which you can watch here:

Communicating Thai Culture Through Body Language

Body language speaks much louder than words! The verbal portion of a message is responsible for only 7% of what people remember…body language accounts for 55% of what people retain. Body language is particularly important in the collectivist culture of Thailand, where it communicates the social order & respect.  I found a cute school project

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How Different Cultures See Bad Behavior

The arrest of Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn shocked the financial world. Will his behavior be attributed to the context of the situation, or will he be vilified for having a bad character? The story is still developing, but there is interesting evidence that Dependent and Interdependent cultures see causes for behavior differently.A study of Chinese

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How Toddlers Learn to See the World According to Their Culture

Several studies indicate that children in more individualist culture countries learn to identify & classify objects faster than those in collectivist cultures.  This could be language-related, as Asian languages don’t distinguish generic names that indicate category. In English, if I say “the ducks,” it is specific, but if I use just “ducks” it indicates the

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East-West Differences in Seeing: Object or Substance?

An intriguing experiment may show cultural difference in how people see the world—either as discrete & differentiated objects or as interconnected substances. Told that a simple shape & material item (like a cork cone) was an imaginary name (dax), Americans & Japanese were asked to choose either same shape/different material or same material/different shape as

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