Individual and Holistic Information Processing


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Virginia Tech


Significant research in cultural psychology has underlined differences in Eastern and Western cultures. While differences in many cognitive domains have been examined, there is a gap in cross cultural research on information processing and integration. This research explores the effect of independent or interdependent thinking on how a subject processes information. It is hypothesized that subjects with an interdependent mindset will process information holistically and subjects in an independent context will process information individually, or with an attribute based approach.

A preliminary study tested the averaging and additive effects of information processing and served as the foundation for two subsequent explorations. The first examined cultural differences in information processing through presenting subjects of different cultural backgrounds with presenter and evaluator situations.

In the second study, individualistic and collectivist priming methodology was used to prompt subjects' ability to process information individually or holistically. Established measures of religiosity and connectedness were examined as possible moderators of the relationship between self-construal and information integration. Results show that differences between subjects primed in the interdependent condition were moderated by religiosity. Possible explanations for this effect are discussed.



Self Construal, Individual and Holistic Information Processing, Impression Management, Independent and Interdependent Cultures