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Chapter 3

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PSYC18 Chapter 3 – Cultural Understanding of Emotions - Catherine Lutz on the island of Ifaluk where she experienced a different emotional culture The construction of emotions in the West - Plato thought that emotions arise from the lower part of the mind and pervert reason - Jean-Jacques Rousseau: published that religious sensibility is based on how you feel - Romantics fascinated by the natural. Writers began to explore the worlds of ordinary life, writing itself became a way of discovering inner emotional truths. Emotion became an ideal to be cultivated - Frankenstein and its emphasis on the natural, distrust of the artificial, apprehension of humans arrogantly overstepping boundaries - Romantic movement: we see core beliefs about human nature and about emotions as original, primordial, authentic causes of behaviour - Emotiosn are powerful forces, often at odds with more deliberate, rational thought The elements of a cultural approach to emotion - Values, concepts and ideas about the self as expressed in art forms, rituals, etc  shape how members of particular societies experience emotion and these matters are not universal - Culture-specific beliefs and practices are influenced by historical and economic factors - Second assumption: emotions can be thought of as roles people have to fulfill to play out culture-specific identities and relationships - Arlie Hochschild: emotional role of airline stewardess - Batja Mesquita (2001) states that cultural approaches focus on the “practice“ of emotion in contrast to the “potential” for emotion. (if put in same situation, the emotion may be universal. Problem is that we don’t all encounter the same cultural situations every day) - The self-construal approach: independent and interdependent selves o American culture: individuality, freedom, self-expression (Declaration of Independence) o Asian culture: putting the others before self, knowing one’s place, etc. (The Analects) o 2 kinds of self-construal: the independent self (individualism), the interdependent self (collectivism) o Consider anger: in Japan, anger among colleagues and relations are inappropriate where in American culture, it is normal and accepted (Miyake et al: baby and toy experiment)  Amae - The values approach: to understand cultural differences in emotion in terms of differences in values o Value: broad principles hat govern our social behaviour o Elicitors: emotions readily elicited (shame and embarassment more readily elicited in Japan) o Todas of India: not jealous of marriage partners sleeping around unless it was with a non-Todas man, first son must marry first, etc. o Hypercognized: emotion that is emphasized in the language of the culture) o Hypocognized: emotion that seem little noticed - The epistemological approach o Epistemlogoies: ways of knowing, refer to knowledge structures and theories that guide patterns of thought, affect and behaviour in domain-specific ways PSYC18 Chapter 3 – Cultural Understanding of Emotions o Kaiping Peng and Richard Nisbett: East Asians based on 5 principles: 1) change so that nothing is static, 2) contradiction 3) Covariation, 4) Compromise 5) context  Tested hypothesis that Asians would find greater meaning in contradictory ideas than Americans  Asians may be more willing to endorse multiplemeanings for the complex social
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