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Chapter 8: Culture and Language very detailed notes including explanations of all in-class exercises and video clips

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Emiko Yoshida

Chapter 8 – Culture and Language What to Know from Assigned Article  What the authors did, what they found  Relation between cognitive dissonance and self-affirmation  what is self-affirmation, how they induced self- affirmation, why did they use self-affirmation? In-Class Exercise  People can learn to do things differently, but the important parts of who they are can’t really be changed  agree or disagree? In-Class Exercise  How does the boy in the middle of picture feel? (he looks happy, others around him look angry)  Cross-cultural differences in interpreting facial expressions Mystery  “Crazy Asian Mother by Erick Liang” video clip – reading report card, got As in everything except B+ in English, punishment – time-out” is for white people, they use “knock-out”  Asians tend to believe in incremental theory  Failure as lack of effort – boy didn’t try hard enough; didn’t live up to expectations  Focus on negative aspects to improve performance (As cannot be improved, still room for improvement with a B+) Cultural Differences of Self-Concept  Researchers use “who am I?” questionnaires  Individualistic cultures – define themselves using personal characteristics (“I am honest”)  Interdependant cultures – define themselves using role and membership (“I am a younger brother”)  Study – Cross-cultural differences in self-concept  American undergraduate students  Kenyan sample – Nairobi undergrad (most westernized of Kenyan sample), workers in Nairobi, traditional tribes of Masai and Samburu  Results: o American undergrads – describe themselves more in terms of personal characteristics o Nairobi undergrads – describe themselves more in terms of personal characteristics o Traditional Kenyan participants (Nairobi workers, Masai, Samburu) – describe themselves more in terms of role and membership (how they are related to other people) Independent vs. Interdependent Self-Construal Theory  Independent self construal  Self as a separate entity  Independent, unique, relatively stable  Internal attributions (ex. abilities, personality) are salient – they tend to describe themselves in terms of internal attributes  Self-concept and other people are completely independent (Xs are factors that impact the self)  Interdependent self construal  Self as connected with others  Inseparable from a social context  Malleable (ex. feel more critically about themselves when interacting with higher authority such as a professor, feel better about themselves when interacting with friends)  Social relationships or specific contexts are salient – they tend to describe themselves in terms of their social relationships  Boundaries between self-concept and others is less strict, social relationships are much more influential in defining the self-concept Chapter 8 – Culture and Language Westerners Easterners Individualistic Collectivistic Independent self Interdependent self Freedom, autonomy Duty, obligation, responsibilities, roles Goal: Standing out, unique Goal: Fitting in, not falling behind Caveat  People have both interdependent and independent aspects of self  Individual differences within culture  Cannot apply broad characteristics of cultures to specific individuals  Cultural contexts encourage people to think in a certain way Self-Enhancement Motivation  Self-enhancement – motivation to view oneself positively  Self-serving bias (ex. discount your setback)  Make an external attribution (ex. cousin was in town, couldn’t study)  We have many strategies to protect our self-esteem  Meta-analysis of self-esteem  Canadian sample – more people have higher than theoretical mid-point self-esteem  Maintain unrealistically positive views of ourselves  A majority of studies are conducted in North America: do people in different cultures have the same levels of self-esteem  Self-serving bias is less common in East Asian cultures  North Americans tend to make external attributions for their failure; Japanese tend to make external attributions for their success  Self-esteem is more balanced in East Asian cultures – meta-analysis: half of people have higher than mid-point self-esteem, half of people have lower  Why are there cultural variations?  People in individualist cultures are taught self-reliance  greater need to view oneself positively  People in collectivist cultures are motivated to maintain positive evaluations from others, and live up to the standards of the roles/expectations  focus on weakness and work towards correcting them Culture and the Self – Motivation  Westerner’s views of self-concept – self is distinct from others and the environment  High on self-consistency, stable  Entity theory o Person’s abilities and traits are fixed and stable, reflect innate features o Abilities/traits cannot be improved through practice and effort o Ex. August Rush clip – parents are talented musicians, boy inherited musical talent from his paretns; music comes naturally to him, didn’t make much of an effort (you’re born with it)  East Asian’s self-concept – self is influenced by situational constraints and obligations  Less likely to do fundamental attribution error – take situational constraints into account  Low on self-conssitency  Tend to change their self-concept depending on who they are interacting with (ex. will be more polite when interacting with someone with higher status)  Self is seen as malleable – will change depending on situation, interaction partner  Incremental theory o Person’s abilities and traits are malleable; can be improved with effort o Person can acquire skills and abilities o Ex. Pantene commercial – deaf girl tries to learn violin Chapter 8 – Culture and Language  People thought that she couldn’t play violin because she can’t hear  She overcame her obstacle through lots of practice  Able to change her abilities using practice How Do the Beliefs About Intelligence Affect Motivation?  Entity theorists (Westerners)  Making efforst means an individuals’ innate abilities are not adequate  Failure is lack of abilities (threatening)  Children will choose easy tasks becasue they want to appear smart  Ex. “I hate this difficult question” (negative emotions – failure means they are not smart)  Motivated to work hard on tasks in which they excel (easy to prove that they are smart)  Incremental theorists (East Asians)  Failure is lack of effort  Failure is not threatening to person’s self-concept  Motivated to work hard when people do not perform well  Goal is to improve their skills, not just to seem smart  Children will choose difficult tasks because they want to improve (“I love challenge! This will help me improve my skills”)  not afraid of making mistakes – want to improve skills Culture and Self-Improving Motivations Study  2 (culture: Canadian vs. Japanese) x 2 (condition: success vs. failure)  Undergrad students  Perform the Remote Associate Test (RAT)  “come up with word that is associated to 3 other words: heart, coffee, down”  Success condition  Given an easy version of task  Percentile distribution – told that they are above the 50 percentile  Failure condition  Given a difficult version of task  Percentile distribution – told that they are below the 50 percentile  Before a participant starts the next task, a computer “crashes,” Ps told that they can work on the RAT again while they are waiting  DV: the length of time that participants worked on the RAT  Hypothesis: Japanese participants will persist longer than do Canadian participants in the face of failure; Candian participants will persist longer than do Japanese participants in the success condition  Results confirmed the hypothesis  failure motivates Japanese students, success motivates Canadian students  if they are told about theories of intelligence (stable vs. malleable) will that change their motivation?  Part 2 of the study:  2 (culture: american vs. Japanese) x 3 (condition: low/high effort or control)  Everyone received failure feedback on the RAT (difficult test)  Computer crashes again, Ps can work on the RAT: 3 conditions 1. High effort condition – emphasized performance is malleable, facilitated by effort (“if you keep working, you will eventually figure out the answer)
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