The Echoes of the Mind (4) Cultural Influence

Cultural Influence

Culture affects perception. When viewing scenes, Westerners tend to focus on details – an analytic survey of objects. In contrast, east Asians are more aware of contextual relationships: how objects are related to one another – a more holistic style of perception.

People who live in areas with lots of buildings are constantly exposed to architectural angles. The Müller-Lyer arrow illusion works well on them. In contrast, those who are not surrounded by angular architecture are less susceptible to the Müller-Lyer illusion.


The shaping of a Weltanschauung (worldview)  is partly biological, partly cultural, and partly reflective of individual psychology. Humanity’s shared worldviews have determined how societies, civilizations, and planetary ecology have been molded. The results have been needlessly costly artifices at the ultimate cost of self-preservation.

Industrialization has been viewed as a competitive economic necessity aimed at achieving better lives for those who adopt it, whereas it has proven an engine of inequities and irreclaimable environmental destruction. The positive perspective lingers as the mountain of facts supporting the negative outcomes grows: an example of cultural rigidity in respecting traditional thinking.