I thought this article was quite interesting, but I would derive a different conclusion than did the scientists featured. I would not presume that Easterners have less capacity to make logical inferences than Westerners, but that they give logical inferences less import. The primary religions in the East–Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism–stress the importance of harmony and balance and regard the objects of one’s senses as a sort of dream that would be suspended if one were to reach enlightenment. Their rationality accepts that man cannot be 100 percent rational. This is contrary to the foundation of Western thought, that all can be mastered.

David Wivagg
Tolland, Conn.

The two thinking styles that emerge from the studies could be most simply characterized as the processes of seeking the dominant and seeking accord. The U.S. test subjects tended to find something that dominated, whether it was in pictures, positions in conflicts, or opinions. The others found more resolution. We all do both, but it wasn’t surprising that the Western students tended more to seek the dominant.

Mike Smith
Seattle, Wash.

Regarding the study revealing differing sensitivity to the environment among Guatemalan groups, it seems that a possible explanation might be merely a difference in value systems. Among my neighbors and associates, I find the same range of sensitivity displayed by people I grew up with, all in the same environment.

Wayne Lewis
Gate, Okla.

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