Studies: Westerners focus on individual objects while East Asians pay attention to context and background. When shown complex, busy scenes, Asian-Americans and non-Asian-Americans recruited different brain regions. The Asians showed more activity in areas that process figure-ground relations (a holistic context) while the Americans showed more activity in regions that recognize objects. (Sharon Begley, Sharon.West Brain, East Brain - What a difference culture makes. Newsweek Magazine, March 1 issue, 2010.)

Studies: Chinese people tended to endorse contextual explanations of physical events (e.g., friction influencing the movement of an object) more often than Americans, who were more likely to attribute physical events to dispositional factors (e.g., an object’s weight or composition). (Norenzayan, A., et al. Cultural similarities and differences in social inference: evidence from behavioral predictions and lay theories of behavior. Pers. Soc. Psychol. Bull. 28, 109–120. 2001.)