PSYCH253 Lecture Notes - Fundamental Attribution Error, Percentile, Pantene

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16 Oct 2011
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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
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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
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