Different Identities: The East & The West

All nationalities have different psychosocial structures due to their traditions and history. As such, it is a given that through nurture, the identities of people from the same environment will have some similarities. The Interdependence Theory in Psychology explains being conscious of others’ thoughts and changing behavior to accommodate others. Independence Theory in Psychology, on the other hand, explains people who separate their own thoughts and feelings from others to carry themselves as who they really are.

It is a stretch to categorize people as Westerners and Easterners under normal circumstances because it is a humongous region that we are talking about to be only dividing it into two groups. Hence, I don’t think I have the qualifications to comment on these two groups with what I experience only. Therefore, we will be looking at a study conducted by Hazel Rose Markus and Alana Conner, two cultural psychologists, on the differences between the students from the East and the West. According to the study, the students in the West are encouraged to first find out what they want to do, then do it their way. In the East, however, they are encouraged to do everything the right way, going down the ‘proper’ path whatever they choose to do. This results from the said social structure in which people choose to be mindful of how others view them, causing the establishment of correct ways to accomplish certain tasks.

I would like to emphasize that according to these data, what we ought to focus on is not identifying the better approach, but rather finding out the differences both approaches would have on us, then implementing the better fit in our lives. Not necessarily in studies only, but in any circumstance, we can apply these psychological theories. For example, utilizing an interdependent approach for interactions with other people is important, while it is better to exercise your independent self in a school setting. The core strength in knowing more about yourself is the fact that you can decide on what is best for you in different settings, as opposed to religiously sticking to a single approach just because of your environment or interactions with others. Be the guardian of your own happiness and comfort first, and the rest is history.


Credits:

“Culture and Identity: East and West.” Facing History and Ourselves, https://www.facinghistory.org/nanjing-atrocities/identity/culture-and-identity-east-and-west.

 

Asya Yılmaz