National Cultures

What We See (05-24-17)

New research confirms that people from different national cultures vary in how they perceive their physical worlds.  The specific findings of the study discussed here are not as important as the determination that cultural variations exist. A research team lead by Yoshiyuki Ueda of Kyoto University reports that “an ability to perceive differences between similar images depends on the cultural background of the viewer. Scientists have long recognized that the mental processes behind thinking and reasoning differ between people raised in Western and Eastern cultures.

Ways of Discussing Colors (03-03-17)

Think that the ways that cultures discuss colors don’t change or that all cultures speak about the color spectrum in the same way?  Think again.  An article in the Journal of Vision, reports that an analysis of color terms used by modern Japanese speakers determined that they utilized  “the 11 basic color categories common to most modern industrialized cultures (red, green, blue, yellow, purple, pink, brown, orange, white, gray and black). . . .

National Culture and Workplace Design (02-22-17)

Grenness’ work indicates the importance of aligning national culture and workplace design.  He reports on research done with Telenor, a Norwegian firm.  In Norway, an open-plan, flexible workplace, that reflected the country’s egalitarian social structure worked well.  This was not the case in areas in Asia.  Regarding the design of its offices outside Norway, Grenness reports that “Based on the interviews, it was fairly obvious that Telenor had not given the issue [of alignment with national culture] much thought.  Its overall strategy was to copy the design of its head office in Norway .

Culture and Preferences (12-28-16)

Torelli and his colleagues researched links between preferred brands and culture.  They learned that “feelings of cultural distinctiveness–feelings of being different and separated from the surrounding cultural environment–influence consumers’ preferences for brands that symbolize a related cultural group (i.e., a group that is geographically proximal and/or shares socio-historical and cultural roots with one's own cultural group). . . .  consumers experiencing cultural distinctiveness are likely to evaluate favorably and prefer brands associated with a related cultural group. . . .

Culture, Symbolism, and Design (12-21-16)

Blending cultural symbols in a single space or object can cause tension.  Yang and his team wondered “When and why do local communities display negative or exclusionary responses to mixing and blending of local and foreign cultural symbols in the same space or percept [whatever is being perceived]?” They found after working with study participants that were either America or Chinese that “the local community reacted most negatively to culture mixing when both objects were perceived to be icons or symbols of their culture of origin . . .


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