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Chapter 3

PSYC18 Chapter 3 Textbook Notes.docx

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Heinz- Bernhard Kraatz

Chapter 3: Cultural Understandings of Emotion My abbreviations • E = emotion, psy = psychology, R = relationship, dev = development, conc’n = concentration, mot’n = motivation, bc = because, ppl = people, exp = experience, +ve = positive, -ve = negative, w/ = with, w/o = without, recog = recognize, eval = evalutation, behv = behaviour, exp’t = experiment, expt’l = experimental, diff = different, ~ = the nearest heading, obs = observations, pt = participant,  = correlated with, lang = language, comm. = communication, evol = evolution, fxn = function, sol’n = solution, imp = important • Bolded terms are things I thought were important/def’ns/names of theorists/things that I thought I would have a harder time remembering The people of Ifaluk • Lutz = an anthropologist who studied the emotional lives of the 430 ppl of this small island • Ker= happiness, not supposed to show inappropriate levels of this because it could be construed as showing off and as having poor social intelligence • song = justifiable anger, a social duty to express this anger if one notices anything that might disrupt social harmony • metagu = anxious concern for others, the appropriate response to song The Construction of E in the West • culture = a system of ideas and practices that are held in common in a particular society or set of societies • society = group of people who live in a particular place at a particular time • in the West, we have an implicit theory of E, which includes a certain distrust of E’s o i.e. we discount someone’s argument by saying they are being emotional (irrational) o this idea goes back at least as far as Plato who thought emotions arise from the lower part of the mind and prevent reason o Darwin brought this mistrust to the modern era: once we are adults, expression of E is just an obsolete vestige of our evolution and of our infant dev • However, this distrust in the West is contradictory. It is also a common belief that E can guarantee authenticity and be our best guide to our true selves • E’s signal how events in our enviro correspond to our core concerns and interests • According to Solomon, they are the “life force of the soul and most of our values” • Appreciation of emotion was especially marked during the Romantic Era o Rousseau was one of the first ppl to articulate the Romantic spirit and thought that emotions were all you needed to know what is right. “Man is born free, and is everywhere in chains” was a phrase he came up with that many took to heart during the French Revolution, American War of Independence o Another ex of Romanticism is Shelley’s novel Frankenstein (one of the first sci-fi stories, but it is also quite heavy on emotional themes of the era like emphasis on the natural, mistrust of artificial, and apprehension of human arrogance overstepping boundaries) A Cultural Approach to E • This approach assumes that E’s are primarily constructed by cultural processes which in turn ave been affected by historical and economic forces • The more radical claim is that E’s derive from human meanings which are necessarily cultural (bc varies by cultural, such that the goal of cross-cultural studies is to observe differences) • A second assumption of some cultural approaches is that E’s can be thought of as roles that ppl fulfill to play out culture-specific identities and R’s o i.e. the emotional role that restaurant hostesses and airplane stewardesses fulfill o even falling in love can arguable be a temporary social role, that permits us to suspend other social roles to some degree (i.e. parents, former loved ones) • Mesquita suggests that cultural approaches focus on ‘practice’ of E, in contrast to the ‘potential’ for E. Here, ‘potential’ means looking at universality of emotion across cultures, and this is more the goal of the evolutionary approach. o But, ‘practice’ refers to what actually happens in ppl’s E’al lives. These day-to-day E exp’s do vary across cultures, often dramatically. i.e. some cultures permit public expressions of anger while others encourage suppression o In the West, shame is seen as damaging and as something to be avoided. But, in more hierarchically-structured societies, shame seems more valued and +ve 3 Specific Cultural Approaches to E  st 1 Approach: Self-Construal (Independent and Interdependent Selves) • America’s Declaration of Independence vs. Confucious’ The Analects (“A person of humanity wishing to establish his own character, also establishes the character of others.”) o The former prioritizes the rights and freedoms of the individual and protects them from having those rights and liberties infringed upon by others  Emphasis is on individuality, self-actualizing, freedom, self-expression. o But, in the East, the emphasis is on knowing one’s place in society, honoring traditions and roles, thinking of others before the self o “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Vs. “The nail that stands up is pounded down.” • Markus, Kitayama, Triandis have come up with a theory of self-construals that affect E’s • Individualism = independent self-construal = goal is to assert one’s distinctiveness + independence. To define oneself according to unique traits, with a focus on internal causes (disposition/personality) that is thought to remain stable across time + social context • Interdepndent/Collectivist Self-construal = the self is fundamentally connected w/ other people. Goal is to find one’s status, identity, and roles within the community and other collectives like families. Emphasis on social context and the situational influences on behaviour (rather than internal causes). One thinks of oneself as embedded within social relationships, roles, duties. There is no stable personality or self, it is shaped by different contexts, relationships, roles. • Amae = a Japanese word for an emotion of attachment and interdependence, deriving from comfort in the other person’s complete acceptance o the Chinese ideogram of amae was of a breast on which the baby suckled o Westerners may feel they have outgrown this emotion and we have no similar word for it, even though it can still be significant o In Japan though, this emotion still has an important place in adult life, such as mutual dependency between lovers • A study found that Japanese students report more intense exp’s of +ves, socially engaging E’s (i.e. respect, sympathy) and more intense -ve socially engaging (= brings people closer and connects individuals) E’s (i.e. shame, guilt which recog others’ eval’s of the self and motivate behvs that restore social R’s) o However, American students reported more intense +ve and -ve socially disengaging E’s (socially disengaging = creates distance from other people). o +ve = pride, high self-esteem. -ve = anger, frustration • Thus, there are diff’s in the kinds of E’s we exp, which E’s we value. But also, the ways in which E’s evoke responses in others: o Japanese infants take significantly longer to re-approach a toy when mother st spoke in an angry voice while they were playing with that toy the 1 time, compared to American o (18 seconds vs 48 seconds). Within interdependent cultures, anger is infrequent, highly -ve bc it so readily disrupts social harmony. Thus, Japanese babies are more inhibited by mom’s anger bc the anger is so rare. • People also find happiness different (indivualism  find happiness in their own expression of +ve E, collectivism  find happiness in fulfilling duties and abiding by cultural norms 2 approach: Values • ~ seeks to understand cultural diffs in E in terms of diffs in values • Values = principles that govern our social behv • i.e. diff priorities for things like individual rights, sexual purity, hierarchies, respect for authority • sincerity in America means to act in accord with one’s innermost E’s • but in Japan, sincerity is makoto which means doing a social duty, not according to inner feelings, but doing it completely and w/ expertise and w/o inner conflict • value diffs also relate to diffs in the elicitors of E’s related to those values • i.e. in the West, jealousy is typically felt when the sexual attention of a primary partner turns toward anyone else. This relates to our value of monogamy. • In other societies, the self is more interdependent and adult companionship derives from many relatives and thus monogamy is not so highly cherished. In fact, extramarital recreational sex might even be customary and not inspire jealousy as long as the affair was with someone in their social group. And, no jealousy as long as the eldest child marries before the younger ones • These sorts of obs imply that cultures vary as to which emotions are focal (prominent) in daily life, according to cultural diffs in values • Focal emotions are more readily elicited, exp’d more intensely • i.e. societies that value honor exp more honor-related emotion like shame, anger o show more anger when insulted, higher levels of testosterone + coritsol, shake hands more firmly, refuse to be the one to move out of the way when walking towards a person in a narrow hallway, certain kinds of interpersonal violence and also self-harm is more tolerated (i.e. seppuku) • E’al control is also more valued in the East and spontaneous E is thought to disrupt social harmony and is thus discouraged.But, in the West, it is valued because spontaneous E expresses us more authentically (i.e. Romanticism) • In fact, although people from East and West do not differ in their physio reactions to being insulted or frustrated deliberately by another person, East reports feeling less intense anger • Also, to the extent that E’s reinforce particular values imp to a culture, those E’s will also be highly valued. o Tsai’s Affect evaluation theory: E’s that promote specific cultural values and ideals are valued more and therefore play a more prominent role in people’s social lives o i.e. in the States, excitement is valued and this enables ppl to pursue a cultural ideal of self-expression and achievement (and means we are more likely to engage in risky behaviours, prefer upbeat music, etc.). As opposed to the East where calm, serenity, contentedness is valued because this promotes social harmony • how any E is expressed, understood, etc. critically depends on the context in which it occurs • context in turn depends on a range of factors like gender, power diffs, and most importantly the culture in which it occurs. rd 3 Approach: Epistemology • ~ = ways of knowing. Knowledge structures and theories that guide thought, E, behv in domain-specific ways • East is guided in their thought by a holistic, dialectical sytem of thought that has its roots in Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism. This ~ is based on 5 principles: o 1) change: nothing is static o 2) contradiction: opposites are often consistent and both true o 3) covariation: events are interrelated in complex systems o 4) compromise: truth may lie in the synthesis of opposites o 5) context: events occur not alone, but within contexts • In keeping with the second principle, East Asians exp greater E complexity (i.e. being able to accept feeling multiple, contradictory E’s simultaneously rather than singular, simpler meanings) • Experience sampling method = an alarm sort of thing goes off at certain points in the day and the pt is supposed to record certain kinds of info when it does in a sort of diary • Contradictory emotions are correlated negatively for Westerners and positively for East Asians, bc it is our goal to minimize -ve E’s and maximize +ve, while East Asians think yin and yang • Societies of the East also focus more on context to give meaning to social situations rather than internal causes (i.e. rather than focusing on the individual and their personality perhaps) o This can be seen by comparing art. Asian art gives more space to background, Western art gives more space to people’s faces. Approaches to Studying Cultural Influences on Emotion • E’s begin with elicitations • While there are some univers
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