More recent work on reasoning compares East Asians with Westerners. The argument has long been made that Westerners reason analytically -- that is, they focus on the object (whether physical or social) and its attributes, use its attributes to categorize it and apply rules based on the categories to predict and explain its behavior. Formal logic plays a role in reasoning, category construction and rule justification. In contrast, East Asians reason holistically -- that is, they focus on the object in its surrounding field, there is little concern with categories or universal rules and behavior is explained on the basis of the forces presumed to be operative for the individual case at a particular time. Formal logic is not much used and instead a variety of dialectic reasoning types are common, including synthesis, transcendence and convergence. Recent evidence from our labs finds support for each of these points. Westerners focus their attention on objects, often fail to see covariations in the stimulus field, typically (and often mistakenly) explain objects' behavior with respect to their presumed dispositions. They also make substantial use of categories in inductive inference, learn categories readily, and reason using (and sometimes misusing) the rules of formal logic. East Asians focus their attention on the field, are sensitive to covariation, are likely to explain objects' behavior with respect to situations or conditions in the stimulus field. They make relatively little use of categories for induction and find category learning to be relatively difficult and often reason using(and sometimes misusing) a variety of dialectic strategies. This work will be extended to include a comparison of the aging process in East Asia vs. the West. The anticipation is that the elderly will diverge for relatively automatized tasks which are "culturally saturated" but will converge for tasks with high processing resource demands. The work will also be expanded to examine European countries that are relatively individualistic vs. those that are relatively collectivistic.
Other cultural work includes the study of "cultures of honor," including that of the Southern and Western United States, which incline people toward violence in a variety of situations having to do with protection of reputation and property. The most recent work concerns study of the Hispanic cultural tradition of sympatia, and the ways in which it differs from mainstream American culture. These cultural differences are of interest both in their own right and because they are a potential source of cultural conflict. Finally, for the last several years I have been involved in the debate over the heritability of the black-white differences in IQ. I have argued that the voluminous evidence points strongly to an absence of any genetic contribution at all to the difference.