Japanese Logical Thinking A Quantitative Assessment of University Students' Reasoning Abilities
According to some experts, the thinking of most Japanese tends to be intuitive and emotional rather than logical; as it is apparently shown by the structure and use of the Japanese language that gives more preponderance to social nuances than to logical exactness. Besides this cultural bias, experts describe the educational system in Japan as one that promotes rote memory learning rather than the development of the students' reasoning abilities. Under this context, this paper explores two questions : First, are Japanese students at clear cultural disadvantage in developing their logical reasoning when compared to students in other cultures? Second, to what extent does university schooling in Japan foster the development of students' logical reasoning? To answer them, a sample of Japanese university students took a test on reasoning abilities. The results show that they perform much higher than Mexican students, and probably higher than American students too. However, fourth and first year Japanese students have statistically the same scores. Therefore, the main conclusion is that, although Japanese are not handicapped by their language to have good reasoning skills, four years of university schooling do not seem to improve the students' reasoning abilities.
京都大学高等教育研究 5 153-163, 1999-10-01