As Professor Nisbett shows in The Geography of Thought people actually think - and even see - the world differently, because of differing ecologies, social structures, philosophies, and educational systems that date back to ancient Greece and China, and that have survived into the modern world. As a result, East Asian thought is "holistic" - drawn to the perceptual field as a whole, and to relations among objects and events within that field.
By comparison to Western modes of reasoning, East Asian thought relies far less on categories, or on formal logic; it is fundamentally dialectic, seeking a "middle way" between opposing thoughts. By contrast, Westerners focus on salient objects or people, use attributes to assign them to categories, and apply rules of formal logic to understand their behaviour.
The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently