Cultural Differences in the Tendency to Seek Practical versus Theoretical Information

Spina, Roy, Ji, Li-Jun, Guo, Tieyuan, Li, Ye and Zhang, Zhiyong (2020) Cultural Differences in the Tendency to Seek Practical versus Theoretical Information. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. ISSN 0022-0221

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Abstract

Western thought stems from the ancient Greeks, who were intensely interested in pondering abstract information and generating theories to explain natural phenomena. East Asian thought stems from the ancient Chinese, who focused on concrete information directly perceived by the senses and on generating practical information relevant to their daily lives. Would contemporary Western and East Asian people differ in their tendency to seek practical versus theoretical information? In a series of studies, we found that Canadians showed greater interest in theoretical information than Chinese, who showed greater interest in practical information. To explain the cultural differences in information seeking, we found that Canadians were more likely to endorse an intrinsic motivation for learning (focused on fun) whereas Chinese were more likely to endorse a utilitarian motivation toward learning (focused on benefits). And these differences in motivation for learning mediated the effect of culture on information seeking.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright ©The Authors.2020. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. DOI 10.1177/0022022120933691
Uncontrolled Keywords: culture; social cognition; information seeking; curiosity; motivation
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
D History General and Old World > DF Greece
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Research Centres > POWER Centre
Departments > Psychology and Counselling
Depositing User: Roy Spina
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2020 08:40
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2020 13:31
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/5215

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