Construals differ across cultures. Activity 14.1. Interpretation of cultural practices
Cross-cultural psychology: research and theorizing that attempt to account for the psychological differences between and within different cultural groups; example: materialism—Americans are known for being materialistic, but they also differ on how materialistic they are Markus & Kitayama article in the reader—A collective fear of the collective
Cross-cultural universals vs. specificity: There is evidence for both. Definition: psychological attributes of groups, including customs, habits, beliefs, and values that shape emotions, behavior, and life patterns Enculturation: the process of socialization through which an individual acquires his native culture, mainly early in life Acculturation: the process of partially or fully acquiring a new cultural outlook
Increasing international understanding: differences (in attitudes, values, and behavioral styles) can cause misunderstandings; behaviors that are ordinary in one culture can be interpreted very negatively in another (spray painting cars in Singapore, leaving sleeping babies outside in Denmark) WEIRD countries: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic; represents only 12% of the world’s population Evidence that culture affects the way that personality is expressed and emotion is experienced Appreciating the varieties of human experience: Culture influences construals of the world; culture is a lens through which the world is seen.
How can one culture be compared to another? Behavior, experience of emotions, thoughts, sense of connection with the world Assumption: any idea or concept has aspects that are the same across cultures and aspects particular to a specific culture Etics: the universal components of ideas across cultures; conception of duty; marriage Emics: components of ideas that are particular to certain cultures; what one’s actual duty is (what rules should be followed); reasons for marriage (love, business, etc.); some concepts might only have meaning in one culture (relationship reciprocity, predestined relationship) Activity 14.2—Cultural themes in children’s books
Tough and easy: variety/number of goals that can be pursued, and ease and number of ways of achieving goals Achievement and affiliation: The need to achieve could be assessed by looking at children’s stories (The Little Engine that Could); high need for achievement is associated with faster industrial growth. Complexity: based on several variables; for example, in relationships (number of possible relationships) and politics; described more in Triandis article in the reader Tightness-looseness: tolerance of deviation from proper behavior; cultures that are ethnically homogeneous and densely populated tend to be tighter than cultures that are more diverse or spread out Head vs. heart: emphasizing fairness, mercy, gratitude, hope, love, and religion vs. artistic excellence, creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, and learning; cities with more strengths of the head were more creative and had better job growth, lower unemployment, and diverse immigration patterns
Collectivism-individualism: view of relationship between the individual and society as the rights of the group vs. the individual as more important The self and others: In individualistic cultures, people are viewed as separate from each other. Independence is an important virtue; people should be willing to stand up for themselves, and be more vulnerable to loneliness and depression Personality and collectivism: Personality may have different meanings in different cultures. There are more trait words in the English language than Chinese (2,800 vs. 557), but traits predict behavior and behavior is consistent across situations in both collective and individualist cultures. Different predictors of satisfaction with life: harmony of relationships with others in collectivistic cultures vs. self-esteem in individualistic cultures
Social interactions: People in collectivistic cultures spend more time in social interactions that are more intimate. Self-focused vs. other-focused emotions: People in individualistic cultures report more self-focused emotions, such as anger; people in collectivistic cultures report more other-focused emotions, such as sympathy and more pleasant emotions when fitting well into their group. Importance of love in marriages: Arranged marriages are more common in collectivistic cultures. What emotional experience depends on: more dependent on social worth, the nature of social reality, and relationships in collectivistic cultures Fundamental motivations: Collectivist cultures focus more on avoiding loss of respect because respect by others can be easily lost and is difficult to regain; individualist cultures focus more on achievement of pleasure or reward; leads to self-enhancement in individualist cultures Tsai & Chentsova-Dutton article in the reader—Variation among European Americans in emotional facial expressions Ramirez-Esparza et al. article in the reader—Are Mexicans more or less sociable than Americans?
Vertical cultures: assume individuals are importantly different Horizontal cultures: view individuals as essentially equal Can be crossed with collectivism-individualism: see table on next slide Cautions about collectivism-individualism: many studies find no difference between Americans and Japanese, and some find Japanese are higher on individualism; the idea that Japan is a collectivistic culture may be based on inaccurate data, casual observations, and biased selection of cultural phrases Activity 14.3—Individualism-Collectivism Scale Triandis article in the reader—The self and social behavior in differing cultural contexts
Honor: high honor is more common when laws and police are weak or nonexistent and people must protect themselves, their families, and their property; it’s important to not appear vulnerable because this could put the person at risk (retaliate against insults, signal that you are ready to use violence) Face: high face is more common in societies with stable hierarchies based on cooperation; high motivation to protect one’s and other’s social image; high respect for authority figures; avoidance of controversy Dignity: belief that individuals are valuable in their own right and this value does not come from what others think of them Individuals who more strongly accept the cultural norms are more likely to behave in ways consistent with the cultural dimensions
Assessing a culture is somewhat similar to assessing a person ideocentrism vs. allocentrism: a dimension of personal values that focuses on whether one believes that the group is more important than the individual (allocentrism), or vice versa (ideocentrism)
Comparing the same traits across cultures: compare average levels of traits across cultures Canadians have the highest self-esteem and Japanese have the lowest Figure 14.4 on p. 494
Many variations have also been found: Translating the Big Five into Spanish misses aspects of Spanish personality such as humor, good nature, and unconventionality. Only conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness should be considered universal: There is not complete agreement on this. Difficulties of translations: They are never exact.
Create endogenous scales (from the inside) to see if the same traits emerge. Some of the Big Five traits have emerged: extraversion, conscientiousness, intellect and openness, agreeableness Seven factors have been found in China and Spain, but not the same factors. China: extraversion, conscientiousness, unselfishness, harmfulness (similar to opposite of agreeableness), gentle temper, intellect (similar to openness), dependency/fragility Spain: positive valence, negative valence, conscientiousness, openness, agreeableness, pleasantness of emotional experience, engagement/passion
If behavioral traits differ, does thinking also differ? Holistic thinking: explaining events in context and seeking to integrate divergent points of view vs. explaining events in isolation and setting divergent points of view against each other; East Asians are more holistic than Americans; Japanese and Chinese are more willing than Americans to describe themselves in contradictory terms Independent thinking: a controversial area; seen more in European American than Asian students; difference may be due to culture suppressing self-expression, ability to think and talk at the same time (more difficult for Asian than European Americans), or to the importance placed on learning about an area before attempting to formulate new ideas or ask questions (very important, based on Confucian philosophy; more important in Asian cultures)
The search for universal values: goals everyone wants to achieve Implications of universal values: Universal values are “real” values that go beyond cultural judgment and should be valued by everyone; universal values could be used to settle disputes between cultures. Possible list of 10 (figure on next slide)
Figure 14.5 Power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, understanding, benevolence, tradition, conformity, security Dimensions: openness to change—conservatism and self-transcendence—self-enhancement
Moral reasoning of individualist vs. collectivist cultures; long-standing research interest Seen in the debate on abortion: Individualists see the mother and her choice as the most important; collectivists see the baby as part of the group and something to be protected.
Deconstructionism: reality has no meaning apart from what humans invent, or construct; viewed these questions as unanswerable; not a useful approach
The ecological approach: view that differences exist because different cultures developed in different circumstances with the need to deal with different problems Ecology: physical layout and resources of the land, and the distinctive tasks and challenges this culture has faced; for example, need for complex agricultural projects and water systems in China, required coordination and results in collectivism; need for hunting in Germany, which required more individual effort and resulted in individualism; levels of infectious disease based on living in clean vs. dirty environments with high disease associated with low extraversion and openness; need to catch fish in open water, which is dangerous, is related to men with high bravery, violence, and domination over women; ability to catch fish easily in protected water is related to men who are gentle, ignore insults, and are respectful of women. These are only speculations. Socialization: explicit and implicit teaching during childhood
McCrae article in the reader—Human nature and culture
Ethnocentrism: judging another culture from the point of view of one’s own; observers need to understand the culture and the assumptions it includes to understand behaviors of people within that culture; this is difficult to do The exaggeration of cultural differences: often based on assuming all individuals of a culture are alike Outgroup homogeneity bias: bias to see members of groups to which one does not belong as similar Oishi article in the reader—Personality in culture
Cultural relativism: idea that all cultural views of reality are equally valid; means cultures cannot be judged as good or bad Does not always work: female genital mutilation, ethnic cleansing, terrorism
It is difficult to define culture: Should it be based on language, geography, political boundaries, or something else? Definitions of cultural groups are somewhat arbitrary. People can belong to more than one culture and see the world and themselves (in terms of their personality) through more than one cultural lens; some bicultural people experience stress from trying to integrate the cultures. Bicultural identity integration (BII): continuum along which people with two cultural backgrounds differ in the extent to which they see themselves as members of a combined joint culture that integrates aspects of both cultures vs. experiencing conflict and stress from having two cultures and being unsure about which one they really belong to
Differences in rule for appropriate behavior might mask similar motivations: expression of extraversion Culture may influence how people want to feel more than how they actually feel: Asians want to feel positive low-arousal emotions and European Americans want to feel positive high-arousal emotions; but they report actually feeling about the same. Desire to please one’s parents: but differences in what the parents’ expectations are and the intensity of the expectations Personal goals: consistent across culture
Correct answer: d
Correct answer: b
Correct answer: d (emphasize that not everyone in the same culture is the same)