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Cultural variation in probabilistic thinking: alternative ways of dealing with uncertainty

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This study reviews research on cultural differences in "probabilistic thinking" and presents some intra- and inter-cultural findings. Strong differences are shown to exist between people raised under Asian and British cultures on measures of this ability. These differences were found to out-weigh any influence of subculture, religion, occupation, arts/science orientation and sex. Generally, Asians were found to adopt a less finely differentiated view of uncertainty both numerically and verbally than did the British sample. Numerical probabilities assessed by the Asians were more extreme and less realistic than those assessed by the British sample. Possible antecedents of these differences are outlined, and cultural differences in probabilistic thinking are shown to be compatible with descriptions of cultural differences in business decision making. It is argued that there are qualitative cultural differences in ways of dealing with uncertainty.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27246/

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