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Lecture 2

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Michelle Hilscher

Lecture 2: Research Methods in Cross-Cultural Psychology  Phases of Cross-cultural Research (methods used in the field) - 4 phases - Phase I: Cross-cultural comparisons  Research that compares groups on a psychological variable.  Serve as the cornerstone of cross-cultural research – key concepts that are similar or different for various groups.  Rivers (1905): Compared individuals from England, rural India, and New Guinea on responses on horizontal-vertical illusions tasks.  RESULTS: Individuals from India and New Guinea were more fooled by the illusions than individuals from England.  REASON: Because of less buildings in their environment, individuals from India and New Guinea judge long-distance areas by using and relying more on depth cues.  Problem: If groups do differ, are we justified to conclude that it is culture that really made the difference? No, we can only say that there is a non-zero difference between the two cultures.  But what is culture? What defines it? - Phase II: Ecological-level Studies  Research that utilizes countries and cultures as the unit of study.  By doing so, researchers are able to make conclusions about the culture as a whole.  Hofstede (1980; 1984; 2001): Factor analyses of 72 countries on values regarding work and business.  Identified 5 dimensions of culture: a) Individualism vs. collectivism (most popular) b) Power distance c) Uncertainty avoidance d) Masculinity e) Long-term vs. short-term orientation  Because the main unit of analysis is culture, it is not certain how applicable the findings are on the individual level.  Problem: How do these dimensions play out in the individual level? - Phase III: Cultural studies  Research that utilizes complex theories of culture and self. The end products are in-depth descriptions of cultural practices and mechanisms underlying cultural differences.  Goes beyond mean differences (of cross-cultural comparisons) because it involves comparing how certain variables are related across cultures.  Mesquita (2001): Looked at how emotions differ in individualistic and collectivistic cultures.  Individualistic cultures encourage independent senses of self that focus on personal concerns and deem emotions to signal subjective feelings.  Collectivistic cultures encourage interdependent senses of self that focus on social (e.g., in-group) worth and deem emotions to reflect interpersonal relations.  Interviewed a native Dutch group (to represent individualist cultures) and African Surnamese and Turkish groups (to represent collectivist cultures) in the Netherlands.  Respondents asked to describe an example of a particular situation (e.g., offense by an intimate other) then respond to questions pertaining to that situation (e.g., “In a scale of 1(no) to 3 (yes), will another person find this situation as unpleasant as you did?”  RESULTS: Emotions differed greatly for both cultures – collectivist emotions were defined and perceived as indicative of interpersonal relations, whereas individualist emotions focused less on social environment.  Rather than categorizing emotions as being self- and other-focused, one can start talking about emotions being instantiated in self- or other-focused ways (aka emotion as a concrete representation of either a self or other-focused way).  Problem: How accurate are these models to the real world? How do these concepts link to observed differences? - Phase IV: Linkage Studies  Research that involves quantifying an aspect of culture that produces differences and determining how it LINKS
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