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Regular version of the site

Article

Event-related potentials during individual, cooperative, and competitive task performance differ in subjects with analytic vs. holistic thinking

International Journal of Psychophysiology. 2018. Vol. 123. P. 136-142.
Apanovich Vladimir, Bezdenezhnykh B., Sams M., Iiro Jääskeläinen, Yuri Alexandrov.

It has been presented that Western cultures (USA, Western Europe) are mostly characterized by competitive
forms of social interaction, whereas Eastern cultures (Japan, China, Russia) are mostly characterized by cooperative
forms. It has also been stated that thinking in Eastern countries is predominantly holistic and in
Western countries analytic. Based on this, we hypothesized that subjects with analytic vs. holistic thinking styles
show differences in decision making in different types of social interaction conditions. We investigated behavioural
and brain-activity differences between subjects with analytic and holistic thinking during a choice reaction
time (ChRT) task, wherein the subjects either cooperated, competed (in pairs), or performed the task
without interaction with other participants. Healthy Russian subjects (N=78) were divided into two groups
based on having analytic or holistic thinking as determined with an established questionnaire. We measured
reaction times as well as event-related brain potentials. There were significant differences between the interaction
conditions in task performance between subjects with analytic and holistic thinking. Both behavioral
performance and physiological measures exhibited higher variance in holistic than in analytic subjects.
Differences in amplitude and P300 latency suggest that decision making was easier for the holistic subjects in the
cooperation condition, in contrast to analytic subjects for whom decision making based on these measures
seemed to be easier in the competition condition. The P300 amplitude was higher in the individual condition as
compared with the collective conditions. Overall, our results support the notion that the brains of analytic and
holistic subjects work differently in different types of social interaction conditions.