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PSYC14 - Lec 9 near verbatim

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University of Toronto Scarborough

PSYC14 Lecture 9: Personality and Culture PY Date: Nov 15, 2012 Slide 2: Overview of Today’s Lecture Continuation from last week : Sapir-Whorf hypothesis 1) Personality and culture – is the big 5 adequate? 2) The 5-factor theory – accounting for the model 3) Digital culture, personality and the self-concept Slide 3: Language and Thought – Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis  It is assumed by Sapir and Whorf that: 1) Diff cultures speak diff languages 2) Languages shape how you think 3) Consequently, each culture has its own way of thinking about and perceiving world a. Unpacking enviro objects/situation b. Language = equipping you with set of tools to help categorize things in the world c. In the act of creating words, you’re merely doing more than speaking; you’re creating categories in mind, coming up with semantic networks as you speak d. You are what you speak e. Consider bilinguals/multi-linguals – example of how this hypothesis would apply i. If you speak 2 languages, you’re equipped with 2 processing systems for unpacking the world; lucky ii. When you speak Japanese, you engage in holistic processing/other- oriented; if speaking English, diff processing system – self-oriented/discrete parts, highly analytical as opposed to taking big picture into consideration Slide 4: Evidence  Study: o Compared kids who speak Navajo or English o Difference between those languages is in terms of extensity/elaboration of the vocab that kids have for shapes and for color; how many words do you have to describe color or shape? o Navajo-speaking children – extensive shape vocab & average color vocab  Extremely detailed vocab for shapes based on size; words for same shape but which distinguish them based on size  They are specialists in shapes  Average for color; no more than what English kids have o English-speaking kids – average shape & average color vocab (not very extensive) o Object sorting task = 2 possible ways of categorizing  Ex) yellow string shares the shape of blue string or we can categorize by color  Navajo categorize more based on shapes than by color  English kids don’t apply a certain strategy; sometimes categorize based on color, sometimes based on shape – not applying systematic strategy like Navajo  Key finding #1: 1 PSYC14 Lecture 9: Personality and Culture PY Date: Nov 15, 2012 o Navajo speakers categorize objects based on shape more than color b/c this category system allows finest-grain classification of the world Slide 5: Follow-up Study  English-speaking kids: suburban sample w/ access to toys that allow frequent application of shape vocab o New set of English kids than last one; from suburb (instead of rural community) and they are more well-off; researchers suggest this lets them have access to more educational toys, learn shape vocab b/c of the particular toys; they play in a space that allows them to learn shape vocab and apply it frequently o They’re not learning more words to describe shape but they are good at applying the words they have because they become familiar with applying shapes to their enviro – because of frequency; toys centralize shape features o Do what the Navajo do now, categorize based on shape  Key finding #2: o English-speakers categorize objects based on shape more than color b/c this category system is more well-used relative to color lexicon;  When lexicon that is used to describe some aspect of the enviro is really developed it is this system that we go with when describing the world because allows finest grain understanding of the world o The lexicon that is most developed and/or most practiced is the category system that is used to make sense of the world  It’s not just about how many words you’ve got to describe some aspect of the world, it’s also about how well practiced you are at applying this vocab  This all supports the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis – but we can challenge Slide 6: Challenges to the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis  1) Berlin & Kay o Culture doesn’t impact how color is perceived or described o If you identify with Sapir-Whorf hypothesis then you would agree that diff languages equip ppl with diff ways of thinking which therefore leads ppl of diff cultures to break up the color spectrum in distinct ways; the reason this challenges goes against SW hypothesis is because the SW hypothesis assumes that if you speak diff languages then you’re looking @ world in diff way, because system in head for understanding the world which differs from system and mind of others Slide 7: Details re. Berlin & Kay’s color perception research – pitting 2 premises against each other  Premise 1: o If Sapir & Whorf = correct, then primary colors (A,B,C) in English-speaking cultures should look diff from ‘primary’ colors (A,B,C) in other cultures 2 PSYC14 Lecture 9: Personality and Culture PY Date: Nov 15, 2012 o Ex) If we have the color blue in both French and English, when it comes to illustrating what that color looks like, because we come from diff cultures, it should also look diff – this is the assumption of SW hypothesis – it could be that the reference points make the category illustrated in a diff way  Premise 2: o If Sapir & Whorf = incorrect, the ‘primary’ colors should be similar regardless of culture  The color hue that is the most characteristic of the word Slide 8: Pitting the hypotheses against each other  A study of color terms bridging 20 languages 1) International students @ a Western university listed the ‘basic’ color terms in their native languages a. Ex) rouge, vert, bleu 2) International students used glass color chips to give ‘best example’ of these basic terms  Key finding: o Primary colors are the same o Everyone picks the same hue to describe the word for blue, red, green – primary colors  To illustrate the truest version of the color words o People list a limited # of color terms; list no more than 11 and when it comes to picking a hue that best represents that color terms, people across cultures are consistent in picking the same hue for the color words Slide 9: Limitations  International students may use ‘American hues’ to exemplify their cultural terminology for colors x,y and z. o Since they are going to school in US, it could be that they’re familiar with what the American version of the hue ‘blue’ looks like as they are spoken and as how the color hue applies to the word o So it could be that they’re choosing exemplified color word with the blue, red, pink etc; that counts as that color in the American culture o It could be that they come from a culture where blue looks diff but they choose to express it the way it is expressed in the states so they conform to expectations o Cultural demands/expectations that they’re bending to  International students may have more ‘primary’ colors than they are letting on. o It could be that international students have a cultural background where there are many color terms (maybe even more than 11) but they’re impacted by the fact they’re doing this study in American uni where in culture, the lexicon for color is limited (there aren’t that many words for color); they feel ‘why do I need to list off so many color words of my culture when American culture has limited #s of words?’ Slide 10: Follow-up by Berlin & Kay  Review of 78 languages: 3 PSYC14 Lecture 9: Personality and Culture PY Date: Nov 15, 2012 o Revealed there are 11 basic color terms & clear rules about how colors are represented linguistically  They got out of the American context and they GO TO the cultures that they’re studying rather than having international students in Western context complete the study  With similar task, they discovered that there are simply 11 color terms that ppl have in their languages  There are also clear rules about how colors come to be represented linguistically o 1) All cultures have at least 2 words for color, always going to be black and white o 2) If culture has 3 words for color, the next word is automatically RED o 3) If 4 words for color, it will be: black, white, red, then either green or yellow o 5) If 5 words for color, then BOTH green and yellow o 6) if 6 words for color, then add blue o 7) if 7 words for color, then brown is the next color that’s included o 8) if between 8-11, then it will be some combo of purple, pink, orange and gray o Within each of these color categories, you have diff hues – dark red vs very light red, navy, pale blue; you can have diff names for specific hues but they fall under the same category of ‘blue’  Multiple cultures that are asked to indicate what red looks like – there is consistency in the hue that is selected; every one of the colors, ppl across diff cultures agree with what counts as the best version of each of those categories Slide 11: Challenges to the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis  Study (Pinker, 1995) o Cognition doesn’t rely on language; that thinking doesn’t require words – you can think with pictures for instance 1) Babies can do math a. Very simple math; they don’t know how to talk, don’t know words; but they know when there’s only one cookie left – they think pictorially 2) Deaf children who are language-delayed think abstractly enough to devise their own language a. Deaf children hasn’t managed to pick up a certain language; they are thinking abstractly and they’re using their imagination and they know they need to communicate so they come up with their own language  Here, they say that Cognition precedes language which is opposite of what Sapir-Whorf would say (=we speak therefore we think); Here, we see that someone is thinking and because they are thinking, they need to express themselves so they create a linguistic system Slide 12: Final note about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis  Pg 243-244 textbook  Fishman’s complex (!!) analysis of the levels of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis – Let us simplify… 4 PSYC14 Lecture 9: Personality and Culture PY Date: Nov 15, 2012 o Fishman says: there’s been evidence found to support SW hypothesis but that most of the time the studies that give evidence to support this hypothesis come from what he calls ‘Level 2’  Level 2 = where you have an independent variable that is lexical – means that you have 2 groups/multiple groups who have a lexical difference; a lexical difference = difference in their vocab  Object-sorting task = a study that offers support for Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and the key independent variable in this task was a lexical one – in terms of whether the Navajo or English speakers have very elaborated object/shape vocab – so, the difference is a lexical difference that’s being considered as an independent variable and what you’re measuring is something non-linguistic  You’re asking ppl to do stuff – object-sorting/decision-making which isn’t about speaking; it has nothing to do with talking or interpreting language  Sure you find differences, Navajo and English speakers categorize objects differently – this is behavioral data that is NOT linguistic and it’s easy to argue that these differences is due to differences in the vocab BUT this is an indirect test; not actually looking at how ppl unpack language (interpret the words) which is what you would be doing if you were looking at level one study (fewer of them conducted) o Fishman says you need to offer a very conservative context in which to test this Sapir- Whorf Hypothesis – you have to take it up to the level of grammar, it is NOT really about words anymore  If you really want to test this hypothesis, you have to consider how diff cultures use language in a way that links ideas, in a way that allows for abstract thinking – you have to look @ grammar, not just words and you have to collect data that is linguistic and also collect behavioral data that has nothing to do with the use of language  You want to know how language is used to put words together to express very abstract thoughts as opposed to how many words you have available to you for you to categorize objects in your enviro – this is a very simplistic kind of task  Chart: o Lexical, sematic and grammatical  considered the independent variables o The things that you’re comparing between groups/cultures, whether it’s the type of vocab, the familiarity that ppl with their vocab, the amount of words that one group has for color versus shape o Lexical, semantic and grammatical is where you’re looking @ differences between cultures on how rules of language are used to fashion sentences and paragraphs o Linguistic and non-linguistic = dependent measure type that you’re considering o Most of the evidence for the SW hypothesis comes from object-sorting/decision-making tasks which are behaviors that may have many other explanations and it may be that it’s 5 PSYC14 Lecture 9: Personality and Culture PY Date: Nov 15, 2012 convenient that there’s a linguistic difference but it’s indirect test; must directly look @ how ppl deal with language – how they use it, interpret sayings, and include non- linguistic tasks like object-sorting Slide 13: Culture & Personality  Ancient philosophical perspective: ex) Hippocrates who said that human temperament is determined by the (im)balance of humors in the body o Equate personality/human temperament with internal factors o Balance or imbalance of humors in the body that will determine your personality o If balanced set of humors (blood, phlegm, yellow & black bile) – personality = fulfilled, nice to be around, o If imbalanced = flawed personality; having too much of any one of the bodily fluids  Too much blood:  Impatient and quarrelsome person  Various bleeding techniques to balance out  Founded on ancient medical theories, this perspective was dominant for ages o Shakespearean writing of Elizabethan age Slide 14: Alternative perspective Ancient philosophical perspective = internal factors = balance of humors (almost physiological explanation for personality) Anthropological perspective = external factors; enviro conditions assumed to create personality  Anthropological perspective: National character is formed by unique forces that each culture deals with in its milieu  Chrysanthemum and the Sword; Patterns of Japanese Culture = was written in the post-WWII period, Benedict was an arm-chair anthropologist o Benedict – applied anthropology at a distance (armchair); was asked to study Japanese personality by US office of war information but she can’t get into Japan – so she does indirect process = reading article of Japanese, looking @ Japanese media; interviewed Japanese Americans and German Americans to try and get a hold on what is going on with Japanese personality  There’s this assumption that comes from Benedict’s work that personality is shaped by different things in Japan compared to the US  What was found by doing indirect method of studying Japanese culture is that Japanese personality seems 2 emphasize shame; American personality seems 2 emphasize guilt  Has received a lot of criticism but this work has been a start point for many studies o She proposed that national character is shaped by ‘shame’ vs ‘guilt’ orientation of the culture itself 6 PSYC14 Lecture 9: Personality and Culture PY Date: Nov 15, 2012  Japanese are oriented towards others and they do things because they’re afraid of being shamed/losing face after letting others down  American motivation for action, which is guilt, is the more honorable motivation; guilt motivation = because you don’t want to lose respect of yourself; assumed at the time, that this motivation so that you don’t lose personal respect is the more honorable motivation  Geographical personality map for England: o Describe geographical conditions of diff parts of England, some areas rocky and some near ocean etc; o What anthropologists would do in this instance is that they would take the fact that there are geographical differences and theorize about the types of ppl that live in these areas  b/c personality on average is thought to develop as a consequence of the conditions that you have to deal with in your milieu  if in England, live in rocky area that’s not good for agri, it could be that your ppl are described as being really persistent, cold (b/c putting up with a lot) o anthropology = try to link the external with the qualities of the individual Slide 15:  Recent psychological perspective: A set of relatively enduring behavioral and cognitive characteristics that ppl take with them to diff contexts is what personality is  Our personality are ways of acting, ways of thinking, tendencies we have when it comes to how we behave, how we think about ourselves/others, how we set goals o These tendencies seem to be invariable, don’t change, they aren’t context-reliant; they are static, come from within in us and they are something that applies across our life = fundamental assumption about personality atm o McCrae & Costa’s Five-Factor Model  Conceptual model that outlines five ‘core traits’ (describe dimensions of personality) that are found universally (all cultures)  Based on statistical method of reduction = factor analysis = aimed @ simplifying how we describe other ppl  There are 1000s of words that we can use for descriptions but what we can do statistically is we can ask what qualities seem to fit together and once we know where are these clusters/correlations, then we can say ‘let’s not talk about individual qualities anymore, let’s talk about higher-order constructs’  It’s a technique that lets us group qualities together based on correlation Slide 16:  There are thousands of qualities that we can use to describe a person  A quality 7 PSYC14 Lecture 9: Personality and Culture PY Date: Nov 15, 2012  Factor analysis is a technique that lets us group qualities together based on correlation o Ex) Fast, strong, coordinated = positively correlated  factor: athleticism o We would find that these qualities would be found together in the same ppl – these are regular reliable correlation – we find that these qualities go together many times - cluster o Pragmatic/parsimonious – it’s easier to say that someone is athletic rather than saying many other words  Summary: factor analysis is about taking particular qualities and see how they overlap and cluster together – which ones would be found together in a person and then you’d give a group of qualities a name Slide 17: 5 factors  Neuroticism: o Anxiety o Self-consciousness o Impulsiveness o Vulnerability  Being high on this factor implies that you’re a sensitive person, often a bit nervous  If high – secure, confident, less emotional Slide 18: another cluster of qualities  Extraversion o Warmth o Assertiveness o Excitement seeking o Gregariousness  Social butterfly vs. Introverted factor  Comfortable being around other ppl, outgoing naturally Slide 19:  Openness o Fantasy o Aesthetics o Ideas o Values  If high on openness = sees world as their oyster – open to new things  If low on openness = overwhelmed by new situations Slide 20:  Agreeableness = factor o Trust 8 PSYC14 Lecture 9: Personality and Culture PY Date: Nov 15, 2012 o Altruism o Compliance o Modesty  If low in this factor – you’re more suspicious, not cooperative at all times Slide 21: Conscientiousness  Competence  Achievement striving  Self-discipline  Deliberation  Being high on this factor = organized and efficient  If low = easy-going, more spontaneous in terms of tackling problem Slide 22: Evidence to Suggest that the 5 factors are universal  1) Individuals from multiple cultures completed 240-item personality inventories, rating themselves and others, leading to comparable factors o Complete inventory – do these qualities go together the same way they do in the West as they do in other cultures Slide 23: Graph Display of Cultures  Fig 10.1 o Graph: 2 of the factors that are most often discussed in literature o X-axis = extraversion factor  If high on this factor (+ve) = high in extraversion = social butterfly  If on negative end = more introverted as a culture o Y-axis = neuroticism factor  If +ve = high on neuroticism = emotional and sensitive  If low = calm  Each of these five factors represent to some degree some sort of culture o Canadians = high on extraversion and when it comes to neuroticism = in the middle o French = high on neuroticism (emotional); in the middle of extraversion – they like friends and they also like to have alone time o Chinese = cool under pressure = not highly emotional/not neurotic; a bit introverted Slide 24: Other evidence to suggest that the 5 factors are universal  2) Traits are immutable despite variations in parenting styles and life experiences o Seem to be engrained in us since birth and they don’t seem to change regardless of the experiences that we have since birth (regardless of parenting or life experiences) o Ex) can have an introvert who is born to extraverted parents; they’ll learn to behave as an extrovert but they won’t be able to change introverted personality (they’ll still value spending time by themselves, being reserved) 9 PSYC14 Lecture 9: Personality and Culture PY Date: Nov 15, 2012  3) Twin studies show that identical twins reared apart still have highly correlated personalities o Shows that big 5 is universal; o Shared genetic material and it doesn’t seem to matter too much how different the enviro is – there’s still big correlation between twins o Seems that genetics is at the base of personalities that we’re engrained with  4) The FFM (five factor model) applies to the animal kingdom o What do they all have in common?  One factor t
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