Asians Are More Observant

August 24, 2005

No, neither have I. However, according to this article in Wired (brought to my attention through boingboing), hard studies show that Asian Asians are significantly more observant than European Americans.

In one study they tracked the eye movements of Chinese students compared to European American students when looking at a photograph, and in another, Japanese and Americans were asked what they observed in an underwater scene. In the first study, the Euro Ams looked more at foreground objects and the Chinese looked at the whole scene and background, as well as foreground. In the second study, the Japanese gave 60% more information on background and twice as much information on the relationships between background and foreground objects as the Euro Ams.

And as to what we all want to know, how did Asian Americans do:

"Reinforcing the belief that the differences are cultural ... when Asians raised in North America were studied, they were intermediate between native Asians and European-Americans, and sometimes closer to Americans in the way they viewed scenes."

Intermediate? Damn, maybe Asian American studies got it wrong!




It seems to me that the nature of 'observation' is more contingent upon where you were raised than on what you 'are', so a white person might observe more than you if they were raised soley in Asia and you were not.It also seems that there are only 2 cultures worth investigating and, once again, white people were chosen to be representative of North Americans, although I am glad that they used the term European-Americans.
i notice lots. but forget it all immediately.
A couple things I noticed in the article/study (to name a few right off): 1. small sample size which brings into question2. socioeconomic upbringing as well as3. actual geographic background How big is China and how big is America? One sample is about 0.000002% and the other is about 0.000009% (rough calculation which even if incorrect by a factor of 100 is miniscule) of the populations of two of the largest geographic areas of the world with some of the largest ratios of rich:poor incomes. Presumably, all research subjects were also college students which may also skew the representativeness of the educational and economic backgrounds. I'd hope this study paid more attention to detail than the reporting on it.