Eat the rice to give the raw face to start playing? This may not really be “area black”

“A brief history of mankind” for us to outline a long time from Africa, a long way to migrate, and ultimately dominate the earth’s magnificent historical picture. The origin of this picture comes from the common ancestry of our modern human beings – an African woman of ancient times. Let us wonder why the human beings from the common ancestors will evolve in different styles of culture around the world?

In the past 20 years, the mainstream of the psychological theory that Western culture is mainly manifested as advocating individualism, pay attention to self-realization, good logic thinking and analysis of thinking. And East Asia as the representative of the oriental culture, then advocate collectivism, with the overall view, good at the overall thinking. Analysis of thinking is characterized by strict compliance with the logic of reasoning norms, not “right” that “wrong”, “black” or “white”. And in the overall thinking are more good at embracing the contradiction, in their view, “between” and “wrong” there is a vast gray area.

We are already familiar with the external manifestations of this cultural difference, but psychological research hopes to explain the reasons for this difference.

Modernization, epidemics and rice

There are two theories that explain the formation of cultural differences and the most mainstream theories, namely, Modernization Hypothesis and Pathogen Prevalence Theory.

The modern hypothesis holds that the cultural difference is due to the constant realization of the society. When a society becomes more and more affluent, the level of education of residents is getting higher and higher, the degree of social capital is rising, the residents of this society will become more individualistic and analytical thinking, that is more like “Westerners ” And vice versa is good at the overall thinking, advocating teamwork “Oriental”.

But we see the same economically developed, highly educated, high social capitalization of Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and other East Asian countries (regions) than the EU member states show a stronger spirit of collectivism. Thus, some scholars from the ecological point of view of the study, put forward the pathogen epidemic theory, its main point of view: easy to burst in high infectious diseases in countries or regions, locals in strangers will bring a greater risk of exposure, So they do not want to contact with the outside world, thus forming a relatively closed society, advocating collective culture.

According to the study data, epidemics and collectivism and low social openness, there is a significant correlation. That is, the more likely the epidemic to break out, the more tend to closed society, the more collective action. At the same time, the theory also has a strange finding that epidemics and temperature there is a strong correlation. This relationship led to the curiosity of some scholars, the University of Virginia, Beijing Normal University, South China Normal University and the University of Michigan researchers on the basis of this proposed a third cultural interpretation theory – rice theory (The Rice Theory).

The theory of the researchers found that rice-producing areas of people more cooperative spirit, good at forming a business cooperation organization, but the lack of innovation, divorce rate is low, less invention patents. The wheat-producing areas are more adept at self-expression in the business community, creative, more invention patents, the same divorce rate is relatively high.

Cultural Differences of “Rice – Wheat”

Rice theory researchers believe that the main difference between Chinese North and South culture is that the south to grow rice-based, mainly to the north to grow wheat, although the two crops are farming methods are farming. But the two kinds of planting methods on the needs of the labor force and the organization of production is very different, it is this difference, creating a difference between China’s north and south culture.

Compared to wheat, rice production requires long-term stable water supply and fine farming. Therefore, in rice producing areas, irrigation facilities need to be built to ensure the continued supply of water. As the irrigation system is interconnected, each household’s water will affect the use of other users, which requires the establishment of a cooperative system to protect the entire irrigation system, each household can get a reasonable output, so that the entire Irrigation systems are as important as possible to achieve Pareto. Irrigation system is not a once and for all project, every year to repair, dredging and other work, a huge workload, the need for farmers to work together to complete. According to statistics, before the realization of agricultural modernization, China’s rice-producing areas of farmers per capita working time is twice the wheat-producing areas, which must rely on collective power to complete. Therefore, in the rice producing areas, its social culture is a highly collective form of reciprocity, social rules try to avoid the emergence of conflict.

On the contrary, wheat cultivation is much easier, without the need for complex irrigation systems, natural rainfall alone can protect the growth of wheat. So farmers in wheat-producing areas do not need to work with others. On the contrary, efforts to improve individual productivity are the best strategies for farmers in wheat-producing areas. Therefore, the farmers in the wheat-producing areas are stronger than the farmers in the southern rice-producing areas in terms of innovation and individualism.


Eat rice is the prime minister, eating the face is the emperor

China’s North-South cultural differences, has been relish the topic. Then the three kinds of theory which can better explain the characteristics of China? Researchers in rice theory selected 1162 Han Chinese students living in Beijing, Fujian, Guangdong, Yunnan, Sichuan and Liaoning provinces as research volunteers, and used these three theories to test their cultural characteristics. At the same time, we collected the per capita GDP (rich) of the six provinces, the incidence of parasitic diseases (epidemic morbidity), the divorce rate, the number of patent applications, and the comparative study. The results show that rice theory can best explain the differences between Chinese and northern cultures.




Test the cultural tendencies, the researchers use the word evaluation. Word evaluation is to show three words: “train”, “car” and “rail”, the subject needs to decide which two words can be classified as a class. If you choose a car and train for a class, that test subjects are good at abstract thinking (analytical thinking), because cars and trains belong to the same means of transport, belong to the same concept of abstraction. Advocating individualism, good at analyzing the thinking of the “Westerners”, most will make this choice. There is also a classification is classified according to the functional, the train and rail into a class, because the two constitute a complete system. Most of the advocates of collectivism, good at the overall thinking of the “Oriental” will make this choice.

The results of the experiment are very obvious, the rice producing areas (rich provinces, low epidemic incidence) of people show a clear overall mode of thinking, while the wheat-producing areas (backward provinces, high epidemic incidence) showed a strong Analysis of thinking patterns. This result refutes the modern hypothesis and pathogen theory.

In contrast to the divorce rate and the number of patents, the experimental results still support the rice theory. According to the hypothesis of modernization, the divorce rate in affluent areas is higher, while China’s rice producing areas, although the highest per capita GDP, but the divorce rate is lower than wheat producing areas. This shows that the collective culture of conflict avoidance plays a positive role in maintaining a stable marital relationship.

In the number of patents, wheat-producing areas of the invention patents than rice-producing areas higher than 30%, which seems to be contrary to the traditional cognitive. In the past we thought that Jiangnan Water Village was more talented, but in fact the wheat producing areas of competitive individualism, more to stimulate personal innovation.

Another test for personal cognition further strengthens this conclusion. The researchers let the test staff, painting two circles, respectively, “own” and “others”. In the past study, the American people on behalf of the “own” circle diameter on average than on behalf of “others” circle 6mm; Japanese “own” than “others” slightly smaller. In the study of rice theory, the “self” of the wheat producing area is 1.5 mm larger than “others”, and the “self” of the rice producing area is 0.03 mm smaller than “others”. This is also explained to some extent, why our ancient emperors are mostly northerners, and the prime minister is more southerners, that although the southerners are smart, but they do not want to directly conflict with people, more willing to coordinate relations, which also meet the think tank character of. Maverick northerners, advocating competition, independent character, but also make them more likely to become leaders of the role.

In the last commercial test simulation, the test subjects simulated business scenes with four kinds of people – honest friends, dishonest friends; honest strangers, dishonest strangers. In the experiment, if the other person lied, the subjects will lose money, while the other party will be honest subjects will make money. At the end of the test, subjects can reward or punish each other with their own money. Previous studies have shown that Singaporeans have more reward for friends than punishment, while Americans tend to punish non-trustworthy friends.

In rice experiments, people from rice-producing areas are more likely to reward friends than wheat-producing areas; there is no significant difference in rice-producing and wheat-producing areas in the treatment of strangers. This result is also more in line with China’s modern business development situation. Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and other places more likely to form a coalition business alliance, Baotuan heating, mutual support. While the northeast, northwest region is less such alliance.

Revelation of business

From the theoretical value, rice theory is a supplement to the theory of survival, in the control of the nation, faith, language, religion and other factors, the social culture has a full interpretation of the effectiveness. For business people, we do not have to worry about whether rice is the cause of cultural differences. It should be understood that the different production methods of “rice-wheat” can lead to different behavioral results, and thus form different social culture, which contains the mechanism design and behavioral economics characteristics.

For enterprises, in the enterprise through the mechanism design, to guide and nurture corporate culture, more than the empty talk about the more valuable. From an external point of view, enterprises from the perspective of production organization to analyze the local culture, may be more than demographics, anthropology and other analytical methods, more help enterprises to understand the local culture, into the local business environment.