September 19, 2010
When we travel to exotic countries, especially developing nations, we often find the locals to be kind of weird. But let’s be honest, we are the weird ones, because we are the minority.
I was very glad to find that some scholars had the same thought, and just published their research on the dangers of relying on Western samples for generalizing to the human population. As I previously posted, there is evidence of differences in visual perceptions and decision making across cultures (see Nisbett, The Geography of Thought), but few scientist have been investigating the topic.
Luckily a new era seems about to start.
Nature and Science have been covering the topic, reporting the results of a study on “The weirdest people in the world” by Henrich, Heine & Norenzayan (Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 2010), where WEIRD stands for
societies. They show how the result of experiments conducted in the United States and other industrialized societies are not representative of the human population as a whole.
Of particular interest for Knowledge Visualization is the difference in visual perception and spatial cognition. For example the Muller-Lyer illusion (in the picture below) seems to be stronger for westerners than for small-scale traditional societies. Similarly, in most of comparative studies Westerners, and particularly Americans, “occupy the extreme end of the human distribution” (pg.5).
There seems to be a general trend toward an understanding of the need to consider non-western perspectives, as confirmed by the next Academy of Management meeting theme “West meets East”
Stay tuned for our forthcoming experimental results comparing Europe and Asia 😉
August 14, 2010
The Academy of Management annual meeting just took place in Montreal (August 6-10, 2010) with 8000 participants from 80 countries. This huge and prestigious event has pulled together scholars from all facets of management, from entrepreneurship to social innovation, to managerial education with new media and hardcore management theory. Despite 1801 sessions were organized, only a handful of them were dedicated to visual representations, with different names:
– The power of representations
– Our paper at the Knowledge sharing and online communities paper session
– A paper on Coherence and Visual Representation as Knowledge Creating Devices in Strategy in the paper session Shooting for the moon: The role of cognitive schema and mental maps
–Teaching Design Thinking symposium in management education
– A paper on Cognitive Maps as Visual Artifacts for sensemaking and sensegiving in IS implementation
Somewhat relevant to visual representations I found as well:
– symposium on documentary films on organizational behaviors: What’s Wrong with This Picture? Critical Documentary Film as a Catalyst for Change
– Learning on second Life at the workshop on Sustainable Business Practices: Experiential Learning in Virtual Environments
In the picture an image from the conference presentation on Coherence and Visual Representation as Knowledge Creating Devices in Strategy by Tally Fruchtman Rossiter, who has an interesting blog on visualization