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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, June 20, 2016


Asian Holisim is Happier: And how happy are you?

Asian Holisim is Happier: And how happy are you?
In each of 1a, 1b, 1c and 1d in the above image, which of the two (left or right) figures resembles most the figure above them? This is a test of happiness!

Fredrickson & Branigan(2005)had subjects watch videos of penguins, nature, abstract sticks, a climbers fall, and bullying to promote: pleasure, contentment, the absence of emotion, fear and anger respectively.

Subjects were then shown the four diagrams 1a, 1b, 1c and 1d above which show a single figure above two others and asked which of the two, left or right most resembles the one above. The right hand figure is made up of the same fundamental building block ■ or ▲, whereas the left hand figure is made of the opposite building block but is arranged holistically in the same way as the figure above.

It was found that the more positive emotions resulted in more holistic (left hand) resemblances as per the graph below (with the emotions in the same order as given above). This suggests that those that see the world holistically are happier and those that see it parts, may be in a more negative affective state.

Due to the higher suicide rate in Japan, and naff surveys purporting to guage the well-being of a nation based on one culturally laden question, one is often led to believe that the Japanese are bunch of unhappy people. I think this is very misleading. The higher suicide rate in Japan is due in large part to less negative appraisals of choosing the time and place of ones own death. It is further noted that East Asians in particular and Japanese in general tend to see the world in a more holistic way (Masuda & Nisbett, 2001; McKone et al., 2010). I think that this may be in part because the Japanese are in fact happier.

Fredrickson & Branigan(2005)は、ペンギン・自然・抽象的な模様・登山家の事故とイジメのビデオを使って、喜び・満足・無感情・恐怖と怒りの感情を被験者に持たせ、どれだけ全体的⇔局所的な注意を行っているかを調べた。下記のそれぞれの1a, 1b, 1c, 1dにおいて、上にある形状は下の右か左のどちらに似ているかという質問に対して
1 a左右
1 b左右
1 c左右
1 d左右



Fredrickson, B. L., & Branigan, C. (2005). Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought‐action repertoires. Cognition and Emotion, 19(3), 313–332. http://doi.org/10.1080/02699930441000238
Masuda, T., & Nisbett, R. E. (2001). Attending holistically versus analytically: comparing the context sensitivity of Japanese and Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(5), 922. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/81/5/922/
McKone, E., Aimola Davies, A., Fernando, D., Aalders, R., Leung, H., Wickramariyaratne, T., & Platow, M. J. (2010). Asia has the global advantage: Race and visual attention. Vision Research, 50(16), 1540–1549. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2010.05.010

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