Jan. 25, 2011

The Effect of Culture on Thinking and Behavior is Topic of Phi Beta Kappa Lecture Feb. 7

Richard Nisbett

GENESEO, N.Y. ­-- A distinguished professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, Richard E. Nisbett, an authority on how culture and social context affect thinking, perception and behavior, will deliver SUNY Geneseo's Phi Beta Kappa lecture Feb. 7. The lecture, titled "The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why," is set for 4 p.m. in Newton Hall Room 214 and is open to the public without charge. A reception will follow in the Atrium of the Integrated Science Center.

"The effect of culture on our thinking and behavior couldn't be a more timely topic and we all will benefit from Professor Nisbett's insights as one of the leading social psychologists of his generation," said Christopher C. Dahl, SUNY Geneseo president. "We are delighted to have him as our Phi Beta Kappa lecturer this year."

Nisbett is Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan and is the first psychologist in his field in a generation to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. In his new book, "Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count," he challenges the prevailing idea that biology and especially genetics determine intelligence. Instead, he emphasizes the role of culture in determining intelligence. In his previous book, "The Geography of Thought," Nisbett looks at how Asians and Westerners think differently and why.

Nisbett's presentation is sponsored by the SUNY Geneseo Phi Beta Kappa chapter and the Office of the President of the College. Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest undergraduate honors society. Geneseo is the only undergraduate college in the SUNY system to be granted a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The Alpha Delta of New York chapter was installed in January, 2004.

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