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Dissertation Information for Gary Wayne Strong

NAME:
- Gary Wayne Strong
- (Alias) Gary W. Strong

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Social Psychology

SCHOOL:
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA) (1981)

ADVISORS:
- None

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- None

MPACT Status: Complete - Except Indecipherables

Title: INFORMATION, PATTERN, AND BEHAVIOR: THE COGNITIVE BIASES OF FOUR JAPANESE GROUPS

Abstract: One of the central problems in coping with our modern, technological society is the management of an increasing amount of information. The speed with which Japanese society has adapted to the requirements of a modern, technological society commands our attention. Yet, Japanese culture is paradoxical--Japan itself has certainly changed rapidly while Japanese behavior seems not to have changed at all. This apparent paradox is explained on the basis of a difference between two kinds of informational representations in goal-directed systems. The necessity for two different kinds of representations in human information processing is postulated on the basis of a contrast drawn between human information processing and engineered information systems. Representations of behavior as well as representations of things are seen to be necessary to explain goal-directed information processing. These representations of behavior not only encode possibilities for output, that are selected on the basis of system goals, they also serve to encode relationships among things, i.e., pattern. Therefore, an emphasis upon invariant behavior implies an emphasis upon invariant relationships, such as those seen in the vertical structure of Japanese society. It is postulated that, due to the extensive neural resources necessary to construct internal representations, a high degree of structure in one kind of representation implies a lack of sufficient resources to build representations of the opposite type to an equivalent degree. This hypothesized trade-off was investigated by both anthropological and psychological means among four Japanese groups. The anthropological investigation involved observation and determination of whether each group as a whole emphasized invariant behavior or invariant categorization of things. The psychological investigation involved administering an environmental preference survey designed to elicit information selection biases of individuals. The Japanese groups chosen for study were the Tenrikyo religion, the "Brotherhood Meeting" movement of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, a Shorinji-Kempo martial arts class, and salary men at a large electronics company. Japanese culture has traditionally promoted invariant, decorous behavior, with a corresponding emphasis upon invariant social relationships. These groups were chosen for study because they were either actively engaged in changing this emphasis or because they were acting to preserve it in spite of pressures for change. The anthropological results showed that the Shorinji-Kempo class and the Tenrikyo religion both emphasized ritual behavior over the propagation of universal principles by which things are categorized. The "Brotherhood Meeting" movement, by contrast, emphasizes the latter over the former. The salary men, in distinction to either extreme, appeared to emphasize both--ritual within their group and universal principles with respect to their engineering specialty. The psychological results showed that the groups were ordered in a way similar to the anthropological results in terms of their preferences for vertical groups. Social stratification is seen as a method by which culture compensates for a lack of representational structure for things since it determines what behaviors are appropriate in given settings rather than relying upon individual choice. The anthropological and psychological results converge in support of the hypothesized trade-off between a high degree of structure in representations of behavior and a high degree of structure in representations of things. Each group is seen to strike a different balance in the trade-off.

MPACT Scores for Gary Wayne Strong

A = 9
C = 10
A+C = 19
T = 14
G = 2
W = 9
TD = 11.5
TA = 2
calculated 2009-06-17 10:51:58

Advisors and Advisees Graph

Directed Graph

Students under Gary Wayne Strong

ADVISEES:
- Parto Dehdashti - Drexel University (1989)
- Barbara Marie Wildemuth - Drexel University (1989)
- Yvonne Lederer Antonucci - Drexel University (1992)
- Lucy Anne Wozny - Drexel University (1992)
- Gregory W. Hislop - Drexel University (1993)
- Mary Esther Brown - Drexel University (1994)
- Philip E. Fitz - Drexel University (1994)
- Rebecca S. Lipner - Drexel University (1994)
- John Holmes - Drexel University (1996)

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- Heloisa Tardin Christovao - Drexel University (1984)
- Jan Lee Harrington - Drexel University (1984)
- Fabian Aiterebhe Ehikhamenor - Drexel University (1987)
- Samir Najam Hamade - Drexel University (1987)
- Suzanne C. Joseph - Drexel University (1988)
- Valerie Ann Yonker - Drexel University (1989)
- Claire Marie McAlinden Skerrett - Drexel University (1991)
- Xia Lin - University of Maryland (1993)
- Lewis Hassell - Drexel University (1995)
- Trevor Hylton Jones - Drexel University (1995)