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Lecture 8

PSYB10H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: American Canadian, Social Stratification, Dialectic


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB10H3
Professor
Professor Page
Lecture
8

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June 29 2012
PSYB10 LECTURE 8: Culture, Social Power & Hierarchy
Benet-Martínez et al. (2002),
Magee & Galinsky (2008)
- Culture an ever changing, constructive stimulus which shapes the way individuals perceive and
contribute to the world
1. Dynamic - ever changing, your culture is not the same culture of your parents, or even
siblings (who are much older than you)
2. Influenced by members of the culture culture affects you and you affect culture (e.g.
protests, artists etc)
3. Influences member of the culture how most people think about culture
- Nationality the country you were born in
- Ethnicity your culture heritage (Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian etc)
- Identification shared identity of group members how much you incorporate your culture in
yourself
- Culture is a meaning systems, which means cultures includes language, emblems, symbols and
experiences
- Language shapes our cognition
- Metaphysics the history of our culture, beliefs about the world, universe and existence
Describing cultures
- Individualistic cultures emphasizes personal achievement even at the expense of others
- Greater emphasizes on competition (e.g. Canada, Western Europe)
- Focus on personal achievement and attainment
- Collectivist cultures emphasize social roles and collective responsibilities even at the expense
of the individual (you sacrifice yourself for the group)
- Greater emphasis on cooperation (e.g. China, Korea, Latin America)
- When measured in separate dimensions there may be a conflict Japan is rated high on
collectivist however, they are also rated high on individualism
- You can have both (collectivist and individualistic attributes) however, most of the time its
opponent and independent
- Political Climate political structure greatly constrains behaviour and culture expression
- Sometimes government change can extinguish a culture
- Religious Beliefs Dominant religious beliefs characterize a cultures moral reasoning and
motivations
- Religion also affects social roles and norms
- Ecological differences environmental context shapes the development and focus of a culture
How does culture affect us?
- Cognitive mechanism (how do we think) the western assumption that talking is connected to
thinking to thinking in not shared in the East (thinking in words vs. jumping thoughts)

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- Study (2003) East Asian American and European American participants , all given a cognitive
task - while solving a cognitive task ; thinking aloud verbalize your thought process OR in a
articulatory suppression say alphabet aloud
- When there is interference is the task domain people make more errors whereas when
people conduct two tasks that take 2 domains people don’t make that many errors
- Results Thinking aloud mild boost in performance congruent with your though process
while with the articulatory process peoples thought process (ability to think) was disturbed
thus, harming their performance
- The East Asian participants in both cases (articulatory and thinking aloud) any form of
verbalization is harming their performances because in both cases the verbalization is
interfering with how to think
- Cognitive framing the perceptual framework through which you view the world affects the
attributions of events (how you interpret the world)
- Study (Cultural Primes, 1997) priming someone with a familiar icon of their culture will
temporarily increase their identification with that culture
- Prime Chinese participants with Chinese icons (roo-ms) versus Western icons
- Observe greater endorsement of traditional Chinese values after Chinese cultural primes
- After participants were primed with their images that related to their culture, they said they
personally believed more in the traditional values of their own culture
- If am thinking of my culture, I am going to act accord to my culture
- Dialectical Thinking a cognitive reasoning structure through which an individual interprets the
environment
Change everything is in a flux/constantly changing belief in change
Contradiction opposing propositions may both be true the world is full of
contradiction and linear thinking
Wholism everything is interrelated/interdependent (two contradictory things can be
true as they are related)
- Study Peng and Nisbett (1999) method compare proverbs from China and US look at
degree linearity or dialecticism in proverbs (e.g. linear thinking “for example is no proof”)
- Linear thinkers just cause the two things are familiar doesn’t mean it’s true whereas for
dialectic thinkers example are a source of evidence
- Results Chinese has 4 times as many dialectical Americans
- Preferences Americans preferred linear proverbs whereas Chinese students preferred
dialectical proverbs
- Emotional Complexity the experience of many emotions at the same time, especially if those
emotions are a mixture of positive and negative feelings
- Correlations between positive and negative (2002) In US negative correlation (if you feel
happy, then you feel less sad however in East Asians there is no correlation (your level of
sadness is unrelated to your level of happiness
- Chinese and Koreans have a positive correlation between positive and negative emotional
intensity -
- Social roles are completely relative to cultural context
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- Punishments for violation of social norms varies by culture too
- Importance of social roles varies by culture
- East Asians list significantly more social roles in twenty statement test
- Social norms varies by cultures, some culture really worry about maintaining social norms
- Acculturation successful integrating of the heritage if two cultures
- Adoption of new culture through incorporating value systems of both and original cultures
- Assimilation complete adopt a new cultures and reject of original cultures
- Assimilation is more negative, it’s better to be flexible with culture
- Bi-culture identity Integration (BII) degree to which two cultural identities are interrelated
into a super ordinate bicultural identity “I am American Canadian”
Perceived Harmony vs. Conflict
Perceived Similarity vs. Distance
- Study bring Chinese American Bi-culturals into lab, measure BII and then primed them with
either Chinese or US cultural primes, measure attributions on fish image task
- Results corresonponding bias individualistic American cultures made more internal
attributions while East Asian cultures made external attributions
- Internal attributions = higher BII and external attributions =lower BII
- When Chinese primed they make more external attributions and when American primed then
people made more internal attributions
Social Power and Hierarchy
- Social hierarchy an implicit or explicit rank order of individuals or groups with respect to a
valued social dimensions
- Social power (objective form) an asymmetric control over valued resources in social relations
- Based in resources which belong to an actor/social object
- E.g. disaster relief team, and your bringing food for those people, the one who decides how
much, who gets the food has the most power
- Power hierarchy rank ordering of individuals with respect to the amount of resources each
controls (one type of social hierarchy)
- Social status the extent to which an individual or group is respected or admired by others and
exists entirely in the eyes of others and is conferred by them (more explicit)
- Status hierarchy a rank ordering of individuals or groups according to the amount of respect
according by others
- Changes only as the amount of respect for a target individual or group changes (another type of
social hierarchy)
- Formal hierarchies explicitly set social roles that vary by rank order, with higher ranking roles
holding greater value People move between roles, but the hierarchy exists apart from the
individuals who fill a given role at a given time
- Signs of formal hierarchy job titles (CEO, managerial position, sales clerk)
- , reporting structures (have to respond to someone above my position e.g. supervisor ) and
organizational charts
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