Cultural Differences between East Asian and North American in Temporal Orientation

Cultural Differences between East Asian and North American in Temporal Orientation
Xuan Gao
 
Based on East Asian and North American differences in holistic versus analytical cognitive processing style and the tendency to predict cyclical versus linear trends, this review proposes cultural differences in their temporal orientation. Building on prior research that has compared the cultural differences on past, present, and future orientation, this review hypothesizes that East Asians focus on the past and future more than North Americans, and North Americans focus on the present more than East Asians. It is suggested that in addition to a cultural difference in the focus on the 3 temporal domains, when moving from any past or future time point toward the present, North Americans’ focus on the temporal domain grows more than East Asians’ focus. I present evidence in three categories based on how temporal orientation is defined. Specially, I compare East Asians’ and North Americans’ focus on a temporal domain, their mental representation of a temporal domain and their subjective temporal distance to a temporal domain.

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