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Chapter 6

PSYC14H3 Chapter 6: PSYC14 CHAPTER 6

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Nicholas Hobson

Cultural Psychology PSYC14H3 Vanessa Lee Pack Chapter 6 – Self and Personality Who Am I? • Important in psychological research ~ addresses self-concept and the foundation of our identities • Study explored questions among Kenyans and Americans by asking people to describe themselves o Americans were popular with personal characteristics such as attitudes, abilities o Masai and Samburu reflected their social identity such as roles and memberships • Cultural differences occur based on the way people understand themselves One study compared Danish and Chinese participants in an fMRI scanner • Danish participants showed littler difference in their brain activation on both personal characteristics and role membership characteristics • Chinese were similar to the Danes in their activation pattern in the medial prefrontal cortex when evaluating their personal characteristics o Differed from Danes when they considered social roles o Chinese participants were more likely to think about other people’s beliefs when they thought about their social roles when compared with Danes Independent Versus Interdependent Views of Self Independent view of self • Self can be thought to derive its identity from its inner attributes o Attributes are assumed to reflect an inner essence of the individual in that they are the basis of the individual’s identity, perceived as unique o Viewed as significant for regulating behavior Cultural Psychology PSYC14H3 Vanessa Lee Pack o Individuals obligation Independent view of self: experience as self-contained and exists as a relatively coherent and inviolate entity • Individuals are not perceived as separate and distinct entities but as participants in a larger social unit o Their experience of identity is reflexive in that it is contingent on their position relative to others and their relationship with others GRAPH • Note that the circle around the individual does not overlap with any of the borders surrounding its significant relationships o Shows that independent individuals experience their identities as largely distinct from their relationships • X’s inside the circles reflect aspects of identity o The larger X’s reflect the especially important self-defining aspects of identity • Border around the individuals is drawn with a solid line to indicate that the self is bounded o Its experience is rather stable and does not change much from situation to situation • The border around the ingroup that separates one’s close relations from one’s more distant relations is drawn with a dotted line to indicate that it is fluid o Shows that others can move between the boundary of ingroup and outgroup relatively easily o Individuals with independent identities still feel much closer to ingroup than outgroup members • KEY BOUNDARY – between self and nonself, others are viewed and interacted with Cultural Psychology PSYC14H3 Vanessa Lee Pack o Independent selves tend to be viewed as distinct, autonomous entities whose identities are grounded in a variety of internal components features and who interact with other similarly independent entities Interdependent view of self • Border surrounding the interdependent self-overlaps considerable with an individual’s significant relationships o Interdependent individual’s identities are closely connected with others o Not experienced as distinct, unique entities • Bold X’s that indicate the key aspects of identity for interdependent individuals rest at the intersection between the individual and their significant relationships o Indicates that interdependent individuals’ identities are grounded in their relationships with others o These relationships indicate the groups to which a person belongs ▪ Their identity can be experiences on the basis of their different group memberships ▪ Interdependent individuals also perceive aspects of identity that are based on internal characteristics • The dotted line that encapsulates the individual o Shows that the identity of the interdependent person is experienced as somewhat fluid in different situations • The border that separates that ingroup from the outgroup is drawn with a solid line to indicate a relatively significant and stable distinction o People do not easily become ingroup members, nor do close relationship easily dissipate into outgroup relations o People with interdependent selves tend to view ingroup and outgroup members quite distinctly and may behave quite differently toward these individuals SUM • Interdependent selves consist largely of nodes within networks of individuals tied together by specific relationships whose identities are grounded in those relationships, Cultural Psychology PSYC14H3 Vanessa Lee Pack Study on brain activity within Chinses participants and Western participants • When doing a task, Westerners showed different regions of brain activation, suggesting that they represent themselves and their mothers in distinct ways • When Chinese individuals were evaluating themselves or their mothers, they showed activation patterns in the same brain regions for the two tasks  suggests that Chinese representations for themselves and for their mothers are not that distinct and both reflect on the self-concept Relations with Ingroups and Outgroups • People with independent selves have a rather permeable boundary between their ingroups and outgroups, whereas people with interdependent selves have a more clear cut boundary between these groups • Ingroup relationships are essential in all cultures o They take on special significance among those with more interdependent views of self o Ingroup relations are so critical for self-definition for people in more interdependent cultures ▪ They serve to direct appropriate behaviors in those contexts • Especially necessary to identify those with whom one has such significant relationships ▪ Obligations to others are important parts of ingroup relations among interdependent people  Rare for an outgroup member to become part of the valued ingroup  Rare for a member of the ingroup to lose his or her privileged status and fall into the outgroup category • An independent person is likely to perceive themselves as existing and functioning separately from the social environment o People in the environment are relatively more tangential to the independent individual’s identity o New relationships can be formed and old relationships dissolve without having a large impact on an independent person’s perception of their identity  People with independent selves should be more willing to form new relationships, maintain larger networks of relationships, and be less distressed should any of those relationships fade over time • Language, customs, and obligations vary considerably depending on whether the other is an ingroup or outgroup member o Ex. One set of studies found that Asian Americans were more accurate than European Americans in identifying the emotions experienced by their close friends ▪ European Americans were more accurate than Asian Americans in identifying the emotions that were experienced by strangers Yamagishi and colleagues • Developed model to explain trust and commitment among people with independent and interdependent selves Cultural Psychology PSYC14H3 Vanessa Lee Pack • Maintain in a society characterized by strong group ties, feelings of trust are confined to that group • People with interdependent selves should focus their trust on people with whom they share some kind of relationship o Americans tend to have higher levels of general trust toward strangers than Japanese do  People with interdependent selves view ingroup members as an extension of themselves while maintaining distance from outgroup members  People with independent selves, show a tendency to view themselves as distinct from all others, regardless of their relationships to the others Individualism and Collectivism • People participating in individualistic cultures are: o Likely to elaborate on independent aspects of themselves o Come to feel distinct from others and emphasize the importance of being self- sufficient • People participating in a collectivistic culture are more likely to attend to interdependent aspects of their self-concepts Hofstede calculated individualism scores for each of 40 countries • Found that most individualistic country in the world is the United States o Followed by other English-speaking countries and by Western European nations • Countries that scored high in collectivism were found in countries Asia, Africa, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific Research also shows that individualism varies as a function of social class • People from high socioeconomic backgrounds tend to be more independent selves than those from poorer backgrounds within the same country Cultural Psychology PSYC14H3 Vanessa Lee Pack o Ex. Icelandic children tend to describe themselves more in terms of inner psychological traits than poorer Icelandic children do Study compared first generation college students (more likely to come from working-class families) and continuing generation American college students (who are more likely to come from middle class families) by having them read a welcome letter from their university that either had an independent message or an interdependent message • Students then were given a cognitive test that had them try to solve as many anagrams as they could • First generation students were MORE motivated to solve anagrams when they received an interdependent message • Interdependent messages are a better fit with American students from a working-class background o University students tend to be of higher socioeconomic status than nonstudents more generally ▪ Some of the highest concentrations of universities in the United States are in the Northeast and the Midwest where individualism is more pronounced Beyond Individualism and Collectivism A number of other cultural dimensions have also been investigated by researchers across cultures • Ex. Dimension of societal tightness vs. looseness, which characterizes how strong cultural norms are and how tolerant cultures are of deviant behavior, has been found to predict many psychological phenomena ~~ prevention focus, impulse control, and self- regulation Cultural Psychology PSYC14H3 Vanessa Lee Pack • Cultural values as a means of understanding cultural differences around the world and has created a broad framework of 10 cultural values that distinguish cultures o Specifically values for universalism, benevolence, conformity, tradition, security, power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, and self-direction A Note on Heterogeneity of Individuals and Cultures One important determinant of how often people experience themselves as independent or interdependent is the situations they encounter on a daily basis • Situations that highlight independent aspects of the self will be more frequently encountered with personal goals over collective ones Gender and Culture One study explored men and women in Western and Eastern cultures • Complete various scales into four underlying measures o Collectivism ▪ “I am prepared to do things for my group at any time, even though I have to sacrifice my own interest” o Agency ▪ “I stick to my opinions even when others don’t support me” o Assertiveness ▪ “I assert my opposition when I disagree strongly with the members of my group” o Relatedness ▪ “I feel like doing something for people in trouble because I can almost feel their pain”  Western cultures scored higher on agency and assertiveness whereas the Eastern cultures scored higher on collectivism and relatedness  Significant gender difference emerged on only one factor: RELATEDNESS (women scored higher) - No gender differences for collectivism, agency or assertiveness - suggests that it is not accurate to say that women are like Asians and men are like Americans Culture and Gender Equality • Women represent only about 3% of elected officials in Arab nations, whereas they represent 45% of the Swedish parliament • In Brazil, about the same percentage of men and women are literate • In Pakistan, twice as many men as women are literate Different gender equality around the world • In the Netherlands, Finland and Germany, people expressed views that men and women should be treated quite similarly • In India, Pakistan, and Nigeria, people tend to believe that the roles, obligations, and rights of men and women are clearly different • No matter where in the world, the cultures are the same within gender equality o Ex. Women in India, Pakistan and Nigeria are more likely to embrace traditional gender attitudes than are women from European nations Cultural Psychology PSYC14
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