Chapter 14: Culture and Social Behavioural
People of all cultures have a universal need to form meaningful bonds with others, have
intimate relationships, and belong to social groups. Person perception refers to the process of forming
impressions of others. This includes judgements on appearance, attractiveness, personality traits, and
Adults with a baby face: Judged as warm, kind, naive, and submissive.
Adults with mature features: Judged as strong, worldly, and dominant.
Neat dressers: Conscientious.
Poor eye contact: Dishonest.
People across cultures tend to agree on their judgements of personality.
• Individuals can reliably predict information from faces but require knowledge about the target
individual's background to make accurate predictions of what those judgements mean.
• Americans trusted the face with a greater smiling mouth, whereas Japanese trusted the face with
greater smiling eyes. Relatedly, Americans believe smiling faces are more intelligent than
neutral faces (opposite is true for Japanese).
=> Nonverbal cues probably exert powerful influences on the way we perceive others.
Same race bias => Observers recognized individuals of their own race better than they did people of
the other race.
• Same race bias discriminates between males and females.
• This bias exists in children as young as 3 months old. Maybe because of limited experience
with members of other groups (weak support).
• Some research suggests that “same-race” and “other-race” faces may be perceived and
− Extremely high correlations among the judge groups in their attractiveness ratings (across
cultures), and the ratings by all groups correlated with the same facial characteristics.
− Leg to body ratio associated with attractiveness => Short and excessively long legs are judged
as less attractive.
− Men prefer low female waist to hip ratio.
− North Americans tend to ascribe desirable personality characteristics more to those who are
good looking, than to those who are unattractive.
− (N.A)Attractiveness ratings are positively correlated with social competence, adjustment,
potency, and intellectual competence, and negatively correlated with modesty.
• Similar to Korean ratings, except for potency. Rated attractive faces as having more
integrity and concern for others.
− Americans rated smiling faces as more attractive, sociable, and intelligent, whereas Japanese
only rated smiling faces as more sociable.
Suggested that there is a universal standard for attractiveness. Culture and Mate selection:
Study: 10 000 respondents in 37 cultures and 33 countries completed two questionnaires; one dealing
with factors in choosing a mate, and the other dealing with preferences concerning potential mates.
• 36/37 cultures: Females reported financial prospects as more important than males
• 29/36 cultures: Females also rated ambition and industriousness as more important than did
• 37/37 cultures: Males preferred younger mates; females preferred older mates.
• 34/37 cultures: Males rated good looks as more important than did females.
• 24/37 cultures: Males rated chastity as more important than females.
Females => Value cues related to resource acquisition [universal]
Males => Value reproductive capacity [universal]
=> Culture plays a role in influencing mate preferences.
• Americans preferred expressivity, openness, and sense of humour more than did the Russians,
who in turn preferred these traits more than the Japanese.
Mate Poaching – Trying to attract someone who is already in a relationships. Males are more likely to
attempt M.P. And to be victims of M.P.
Mate Poachers => Extroverted, disagreeable, unconscientious, unfaithful, and erotophilic.
• Cultures with more economic resources were higher in mate poaching. Higher rates
were also found in countries with more females than males.
• Sex differences in mate poaching tended to be smaller in cultures that were more
Love and Culture:
Love is universal and uniquely human. Jealously (over partner) is universal.
In the US, falling in love seems to be a prerequisite of forming a long-term romantic
The French and Americans had higher ratings for love commitment and disclosure maintenance
than the Japanese. The Japanese andAmericans had higher ratings than the French on conflict
Romantic love was more valued inAmerica and Germany [few strong, extended family ties]
than in Japan [kinship networks reinforce relationships].
Universal: Taboo on incest and condemnation of adultery.
Non-Western countries => Valued chastity very highly
Western European countries =>Attach little importance to prior sexual experience.
• Homosexuality is generally more accepted in cultures that tend to be industrialized, capitalistic,
• As cultures become more affluent, birth rates begin to decline (evolutionary).
Men => Jealous after loss of sexual exclusivity.
Women => Jealous after loss of emotional involvement. Marriage:
An institutionalized relationship that publicly recognizes long term commitment that two people
make to each other. 90% of people get married (or equivalent).
• Study: 62 cultures => 79% of romantic attachments could be considered “secure” => Self and
other are considered valuable. Comfort in mutual interdependence. * Universality in
Individualistic cultures were more likely to rate love as essential to the establishment of a marriage,
and to agree that disappearance of love is a sufficient reason to end a marriage [countries with large
GDP also showed this tendency].
Arranged marriages are quite common in many cultures of the world. In these cultures, marriage is
seen as an alliance of two entire families. Love is not usually a part of this equation, but is something
that should grow.
Conflicts in inter-culture marriages arise in several major areas, including the expression of
love and intimacy, the nature of commitment and attitudes toward the marriage itself, and approaches
to child rearing.
• Sometimes differences do not arise until children are born.
• Children of intra-cultural marriages do not have stronger ethnic identities than children of
inter-cultural marriages. Children with stronger ethnic identities however, are more likely to
want to marry from their own ethnic group.
Conformity means yielding to real or imagined social pressure. Compliance is generally defined as
yielding to social pressure in one's public behaviour, even though one's private beliefs may not have
changed. Obedience is a form of compliance that occurs when people follow direct commands, usually
from someone in a position of authority.
• 2 best known studies on this topic:Asch (line length; 36.8% conformed. Conformity peak: 7
people per group) & Milgram (electrocution; 65% obeyed to the most severe shock).
Conformity is higher in collectivistic countries than in individualistic ones. Cultures in which
pathogens were more prevalent in history may have facilitated cultural norms promoting greater
conformity in order to deal with increased risk. Prevalence was also negatively correlated within
country dispositional variability, and percentage of population who were left handed.
Cooperation refers to people's ability to work together toward common goals. Human trust and
cooperation appears to be based on unique cognitive abilities that only humans have, including
empathy, and concern for the welfare of others, memory, and shared intentions.
Yamagishi: Japanese participants; high and low trusters. Conditions: presence or absence of sanctions.
• High trusters did indeed cooperate more than low trusters, without the sanctioning system.
When the system was in effect, low trusters cooperated more than did high trusters.
• Same results with Americans.
=>All populations of the world demonstrate willingness to administer costly punishment in response to
unequal behaviour and that punishment positively correlates with altruistic behaviour across countries.
• The larger the communities, the greater the punishment. Prisoner's Dilemma => Different ethnicity pairs produced less positive outcomes and cooperative
behaviours, and more competition than same ethnicity pairs, and the increased competitive play
occurred by both from the start of the game.
• Findings may be limited
Social Capital – Interpersonal trust, civic engagement, and time spent with friends.
• Individualistic cultures associated with greater social capital.
• In the US, states that were more individualistic have higher rates of charitable giving and
Ingroups => Individuals with a history of shared experiences, and an anticipated future that includes a
sense of intimacy, familiarity, and trust.
Outgroups => Individuals who lack this quality.
Group Entitativity: The perception of group as real entities and not just a collection of individuals.
Perceptions of outgroups are often associated with infrahumanization – the belief that others
are less human, more like animals.
• Ex. People tend to attribute uniquely human emotions to their ingroups, but more basic
emotions to their outgroups.
Culture ascribes different meaning to ingroup and outgroup relationships. People of different
cultures may interpret the same relationship differently.
In individualistic cultures, people tend to belong to multiple ingroups, whereas in collectivistic
cultures, people typically belong to fewer ingroups.
People in collectivistic cultures identify more strongly with those groups. They require a
greater degree of harmony, cohesion, and cooperation within ingroups. Sanctions usually exist
for non-conformity. They are more willing to make sacrifices.
In collectivistic cultures, relationships with outgroup people are marked by a relatively greater
lack of concern. In individualistic cultures, people are more likely to treat outgroup members more
equally, with relatively less distinction between ingroup and outgroup.
Ingroup Derogation => The degree to which individuals have negative attitudes or beliefs about their
ingroup. These attitudes may be related to cultural differences in dialecticism – the degree to which
individuals can tolerate contradictory thoughts.
Study: 3 types of ingroup favouritism; patriotism, nepotism, and familism.
• Related to climate and resources.
Favouritism was highest in countries with demanding hot or cold climates and low income;
favouritism was lowest in countries with demanding hot or cold climates and high income.
=>Arbitrary symbolic markers can evolve to play a key role in culture group formation and ingroup
favouritism. Study showed that culture groups can be formed by linking an observable trait to
behaviours. Stereotypes are generalized images that we have about groups of people, particularly about
their underlying psychological characteristics or personality traits. => Can be either positive or
negative. Stereotypes based on some degree of “factual” information are known as sociotypes.
Stereotypes about one's own group are known as autostereotypes. Stereotypes about other groups are
One study reported that people who believe an individual's characteristics are relatively fixed
traits tend to pay more attention to stereotypic consistent information than do people who believe an
individual's characteristics are malleable, which may work to reinforce stereotypic thinking in the
former group and hinder revising their stereotypes.
Reason for stereotypes => Categorizing concepts
• Aconcept is a mental category we use to classify events, objects, situations, behaviours, or
• We use these common properties to aid in classification or categorization, which refers to the
process by which psychological concepts are grouped together.
• We form concepts so we can evaluate information [shortcut].
• Stereotypes also occur because people