This week on Sinica, we're delighted to be joined by Thomas Talhelm, Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of Virginia and author of a recent paper proposing a fascinating connection between rice and wheat-growing communities, and persistent differences in psychological orientations of people from different parts of China. So join us as we talk about divorce, collectivism and violence, and get the dirt on all the various tests psychologists are using to measure it all here in the Middle Kingdom.

And even if psychology isn't your thing, we suspect that breathing is -- which is another reason to listen. In addition to his growing reputation in academic circles, Thomas is also known in China for his production and proselytization of do-it-yourself air filtration kits, which he sells through his company Smart Air Filters. If you are interested in getting a filter without spending a fortune, be sure to check them out. [standalone mp3 download]

 said on
June 8, 2014
The standalone mp3 download doesnt seem to be working

 said on
June 8, 2014

Seems to be working for us here. Network difficulties?

 said on
June 9, 2014
The discussion illustrates the fatuous nature of social psychology depending as it does on imaginary distinctions like those between collectivist and individualistic. The test, for example, that asks people to associate cows and grass and chickens depends for its distinctions on the supposed difference between what rhetoricians for centuries have called metaphor and metonymy, e.g. relations of resemblance versus relations of contiguity. The ignorance of social scientists of the most elementary linguistic and rhetorical principles means they are hopelessly incapable of thinking critically about the terms they are using to categorize populations. What they need, what you need, is a good deconstructor.
 said on
June 11, 2014


The documentary The Gate of Heavenly Peace


An Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics by Perry Link


1. The Geography of Thought How Asians & Westerners Think Differently...and Why by Richard Nisbett

2. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond


China Dreams: 20 Visions of the Future by William A. Callahan
 said on
June 11, 2014
Hey all,

Big fan of the podcast!

Not sure if this is the correct place to post this, but I was wondering if you'd ever consider doing a piece on LGBT issues in China. It's Pride Month in most places around the globe, which seems as good a time as any to dig into the issues that face LGBT-identified folks in the PRC. I hate to be a bother, it's just I can't ever recall hearing a podcast on Queer issues (though the Decedance Mandchoue recommendation was a solid one), and it seems like you guys are well positioned to find folks who could speak to that.

Anyways, many thanks!
Mark Lesson Studied