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Chapter 3

PSYC18H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Display Rules, Ifalik

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Michelle Hilscher

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Understanding Emotions 3rd Edition
Chapter 3 Cultural Understandings of Emotions
The Construction of Emotions in the West
- Plato emotions arise from the lower part of the mind and pervert reason
- Romanticism era when emotions came to be valued in personal life, politics, literature, and
- Frankenstein actually about the emotional themes of Romanticism, and about the creature’s
initial natural emotions of kindness
A Cultural Approach to Emotion
- Values, concepts and ideas about the self that are part of a cultural background shape how
members of societies experience emotions
- A cultural approach assumes that emotions are primarily constructed by the processes of culture
and that emotions can be thought of as roles that people fulfill to play cultural-specific identities
and relationships
- Day-to-day emotional experiences of people from different cultures differ, often dramatically
- Self-Construal: Independent and Interdependent Selves
o Western societies are concerned with individuality, self-actualizing, freedom and self-
o Independent self-construal individualism, where asserting one’s independence and
distinctiveness are the imperative, as well as defining oneself according to unique traits
and preferences
o Interdependent self-construal collectivism, the self is fundamentally connected to other
people, finding one’s status, identity and roles within society is the imperative
o Different self-construals reveal how cultures influence the emotions we experience,
which emotions we privilege and value, and ways in which we evoke emotional
responses in others
o Interdependent cultures anger is infrequent and highly negative because it disrupts
social harmony
o Differences in self-construal also influence how people find happiness
- Values
o Principles that govern our social behaviour
o Members of cultures that differ in the importance of specific values should experience
different elicitors of emotions related to that value
o Cultures vary as to which emotions are prominent in everyday life, which would be more
readily elicited and experienced more intensely
o Cultural differences in specific values influence spontaneous emotional response
o Affect evaluation theory: emotions that promote specific cultural values and ideals are
valued more and should play a more prominent role in the social lives of individuals
- Epistemology
o Ways of knowing; knowledge structures and theories that guide thought, emotion, and
behaviour in domain-specific ways
o East Asian epistemology: based on change (nothing is static), contradiction (opposites are
true), covariation (events are interrelated in complex fields), compromise, and context
o Emotional complexity: simultaneous experience of contradictory emotions
Approaches to Studying Cultural Influences on Emotion
- Cross-Cultural Comparisons
o Emotions begin with elicitation
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