Culture and Decision Making: Influence of Analytic Versus Holistic Thinking Style on Resource Allocation in a Fort Game
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© 2018, The Author(s) 2018. People have to make different decisions every day, in which culture affects their strategies. This research examined the role of analytic versus holistic thinking style on resource allocation across cultures. We expected that, analytic thinking style, which refers to a linear view about the world where objects’ properties remain stable and separate, would make people concentrate their resource allocation corresponding to the current demand, whereas holistic thinking style, which refers to a nonlinear view that people perceive change to be a constant phenomenon and the universe to be full of interconnected elements, would encourage people to spread out their resource allocation. In Study 1, Hong Kong Chinese, a representative group of holistic cultures, and European Canadians, a representative group of analytic cultures, completed a resource allocation task (i.e., fort game). The results showed that the allocation pattern of European Canadians was more concentrated than that of Hong Kong Chinese and holistic thoughts predicted a less concentrated allocation pattern. To test causality, thinking styles were manipulated in Study 2, in which mainland Chinese were primed with either holistic thinking style or analytic thinking style. The results showed that the allocation pattern was more concentrated in the analytic condition than that in the holistic condition, which was explained by greater perceived predictability in the analytic condition. Implications of these findings on cross-cultural decision-making research and applied research were discussed.
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