You are what you eat? – Rice v.s. Wheat

When I visited the science magazine website this week, this article caught my eyes.

Large-Scale Psychological Differences Within China Explained by Rice Versus Wheat Agriculture

By Talhelm T et al at University of Virginia, published on May 9 2014 .

The author found that people in the wheat culturing region of China are more analytical and straightforward that those living in rice regions. In the northern part of China, people eat noodles, dumpling, baozi (buns) much more often those from the south or eastern part. That is very true. Growing up in Shanghai, one of the most extreme rice eater regions according to the author’s survey, my family have rice almost everyday. In fact, our region don’t have the tradition of eating dumpling (made from wheat) for celebration, whereas in the northern part of China dumpling and noodles are the festival must-have.

But….what is interesting and striking to me is that the author found eating rice or wheat could explain the difference in psychology with a very nice model. The author suggested that people from rice eating regions are more holistic-thinking whereas the wheat-consumer are more individualistic, straightforward and having higher devoice rate. And one of the reasons might be due to the complexity for irrigation system for rice.

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