Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cross-Pacific comparison of narratives

"Westerners are the protagonists of their autobiographical novels... Asians are merely cast members in movies touching on their existences." (Nisbett, in Osnos, 2011)
Developmental psychologists Jessica Han, Michelle Leichtman and Qi Wang asked four- and six-year-old American and Chinese kids about their daily lives and what was on their minds. It was 1988. The results showed that the American kids "had made twice as many references to their internal lives—their likes and dislikes, their moods—as had the Chinese children" (Osnos, 2011).

Peter Hessler claims that the Chinese people "didn’t like to be the center of attention, and they took little pleasure in narrative". This is due to the way that Chinese philosophy devotes a central emphasis to group relationships and context—as distinct from the traditions of individualism passed down from the Greeks, claims Richard Nisbett, who specializes in cross-cultural psychology (Osnos, 2011).

Osnos, Evan (2011) Storytelling in China and America [Online] [24/09/2011]