Culture, Cognition, & Emotion

From the Attention to the Cognitive Process

Some theorists believe that the development of cognitive reasoning from attention arises from the consideration given to something determines the weight that the viewer gives it. This determines whether people treat themselves independently and capable of designing his own rules and controlling the environment or sticking to the norms (Nisbett, Peng, Choi & Norenzayan, 2001). Generally, the principle advanced by this line of thought follows deductive reasoning where a subject of interest is taken, its significance investigated and then a course of action determined (Nisbett, Peng, Choi & Norenzayan, 2001). Therefore, someone can observe the environment, single objects from the environment, or an application of logic and reason; the observer then will arrive at a point whether to deviate from or uphold the common practice (Nisbett, Peng, Choi & Norenzayan, 2001).

Effects of Variations

This concept of reasoning is susceptible to variations since it is based on what society or an individual view to be the most significant part warranting a focus or special attention. Thus, two people from the same culture, with different opinions of the same thing will conflict at the point of identifying the correct party from the wrong one. The system is therefore vulnerable to attacks since it lacks actual rule but is left to the whims of the observer.

Cultural Mechanism

            This concept of reasoning from attention to cognitive thinking relies heavily on the cultural background of the applicant. Thus, a culture that gives more emphasis to a particular element of life will be different with another that offers a lesser significance for the similar component while esteeming another aspect to be of more importance. Consequently, judgments are made differently. This concept can be viewed in the line of debate along ethical lines whereby a society considers something moral while another society finds the same act as immoral deserving punishment or two societies offering different levels of punishment for the same crime.


Nisbett, R. E., Peng, K., Choi, I., & Norenzayan, A. (2001). Culture and systems of thought: holistic versus analytic cognition. Psychological Review108(2), 291-310

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