Relational mobility and cultural differences in analytic and holistic thinking.

We hypothesized that individuals in cultures typified by lower levels of relational mobility would tend to show more attention to the surrounding social and physical context (i.e., holistic vs. analytic thinking) compared with individuals in higher mobility cultural contexts. Six studies provided support for this idea. Studies 1a and 1b showed that differences in relational mobility in cultures as diverse as the U.S., Spain, Israel, Nigeria, and Morocco predicted patterns of dispositional bias as well as holistic (vs. analytic) attention. Study 2 demonstrated that, for Americans and Japanese, relational mobility offered better predictive validity of these cognitive tendencies than related cultural constructs; moreover, Studies 1b and 2 showed that relational mobility mediated cross-cultural differences in perception and attribution. Studies 3a and 3b showed that lower relational mobility induces a weaker sense of internal locus of control and a stronger sense of external locus of control, which led to more holistic (vs. analytic) cognition. Last, Study 4 replicated these results in an experimental setting and demonstrated the causal effect of relational mobility on analytic/holistic cognition. Overall, we suggest that relational mobility may be an important socioecological factor that can help explain robust cognitive differences observed across cultures. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)