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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Two Ways of Seeing a Mirror

Two Ways of Seeing a Mirror by timtak
Two Ways of Seeing a Mirror, a photo by timtak on Flickr.
In this American cartoon the girl sees her own self-love and self-criticism in the mirror, whereas the boy sees his sister's criticism of himself in the mirror. Both scenarios are possible. Larger mirrors (such as this one) have been found to promote the "private self awareness" of the little boy, small ones have been found to promote the private self awareness of the little girl.

The Japanese are found to be unaffected by mirrors (Heine, et al. 2008).

Social psychologists such as Dov Cohen, and Steven Heine, would, or do argue that mirrors are, for the Japanese who seem to have them in their heads, like the boy sees in them, a personification, internalistion of the other. In other words, mirrors can be understood to Japanese raise public self awareness. I argue that the mirror that the Japanese have in their heads is more like that of the girl in this comic.

The mirrors that Japanese do not need, and are are not influenced by, because they have intra-psychically simulated them to the piont that they have a mirror in their head, enables themselves to see themselves from their own point of view.

In other words, Japanese mental mirrors raise private self awareness and the Japanese are in a permanent state of high private self-awareness. This means, I predict that the same Japanese that are unaffected by mirrors are likely to conform less and be more aware of who they themselves are, two behaviour traits which are very inappropriate for collectivists.

Cohen, D., Hoshino-Browne, E., & Leung, A. K. (2007). Culture and the structure of personal experience: Insider and outsider phenomenologies of the self and social world. Advances in experimental social psychology, 39, 1–67.
Heine, S. J., Takemoto, T., Moskalenko, S., Lasaleta, J., & Henrich, J. (2008). Mirrors in the head: Cultural variation in objective self-awareness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(7), 879–887. Retrieved from www2.psych.ubc.ca/~henrich/Website/Papers/Mirrors-pspb4%5...

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.