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Culture and Personality

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1 Culture and Personality
Personality Psychology Chapter 17 Culture and Personality

2 Culture and Personality
Are concepts of personality that are prevalent in one culture also applicable in other cultures? Do cultures differ in the levels of particular personality traits? Does the factor structure of personality traits vary across cultures? Are certain features of personality universal? These four questions drive personality psychologists to explore personality across cultures.

3 What is Culture? Humans everywhere show striking patterns of local within-group similarity in their behavior and thought, accompanied by profound intergroup differences This observation is often referred to as cultural variation

4 Cultural Personality Psychology
3 Goals of Cultural Personality Psychology To discover the principles underlying the cultural diversity To discover how human psychology shapes culture To discover how cultural understandings in turn shape our personality

5 3 Major Approaches to Culture
Evoked Culture Transmitted Culture Cultural Universals Psychologists have developed three major approaches to explaining and exploring personality across cultures. The rest of this chapter will cover these three approaches.

6 Evoked Culture

7 Evoked Culture Phenomena that are triggered in different ways by different environmental conditions Universal underlying mechanism Environmental differences The two numbered points refer to the two ingredients that are necessary to explain cultural variations.

8 Evoked Culture Evoked Cooperation High-variance conditions
Egalitarianism The text provides a good example of these concepts using cooperative food sharing among different bands of tribes. High-variance conditions provide large benefits to sharing.

9 Evoked Mating Strategies
Evoked Culture Evoked Mating Strategies Children in uncertain and unpredictable environments have a mating strategy marked by early reproduction Children from stable homes with predictability opt for a strategy of permanent mating This illustrates how a consistent pattern of individual differences can be evoked in different cultures, producing a local pattern of within-group similarity and between-group differences. They exemplify the idea that an important component of human personality—the mating strategy pursued—may hinge on the particular cultural environment in which one is raised.

10 Honors, Insults and Evoked Aggression
Evoked Culture Honors, Insults and Evoked Aggression “A Culture of Honor” How dare you insult me! Why are people in some cultures prone to resort to aggression, while others use aggression only as a last resort? Nisbett proposed the culture of honor in which insults are viewed as highly offensive public challenges that must be met with direct confrontation and physical aggression. The degree rests with economics, specifically the manner in which food is obtained. Uh Oh

11 Transmitted Culture

12 Transmitted Culture Representations that exist originally in one person’s mind that are transmitted to other minds through observation or interaction with the original person

13 Cultural Differences in Moral Values
Transmitted Culture Cultural Differences in Moral Values Transmitted to children early in life Specific to particular cultures May be cultural universals Cultures clearly differ in their views of what is right and wrong but there also may be some cultural universals. There are, however, exceptions to this too.

14 Cultural Differences in Self-Concept
Transmitted Culture Cultural Differences in Self-Concept Self-concepts differ substantially from culture to culture Interdependence/Independence Individualism/Collectivism Vertical-Horizontal Distinction Markus and Kitayama propose that each person has two fundamental “cultural tasks” that have to be confronted: interdependence and independence. They believe that people in different cultures differ profoundly in how they balance these two tasks. Triandis, similarly, proposed two other terms: individualism and collectivism. These closely mirror the concepts of interdependence and independence. He went a step further though and added the distinction of vertical and horizontal varieties of the concepts. This distinction refers to whether the culture emphasizes status hierarchies (vertical) or equality (horizontal). The corresponding section in the text yields many research examples of these concepts.

15 Cultural Differences in Self-Enhancement
Transmitted Culture Cultural Differences in Self-Enhancement The tendency to describe and present oneself using positive or socially valued attributes Stable over time making them enduring personality features Intragroup and Intergroup comparisons This section of the text describes various differences for how Americans describe themselves versus Japanese and other cultures. There appears to be a pervasive cultural difference in the degree to which people experience themselves.

16 Personality Variations Within Culture
Transmitted Culture Personality Variations Within Culture Effects of Social Class Effects of Historical Era


18 Cultural Universals

19 Cultural Universals The attempt to identify features of personality that appear to be universal These constitute the “human nature” level of analyzing personality


21 Personality Characteristics of Men and Women
Cultural Universals Personality Characteristics of Men and Women Tremendous consensus across cultures of gender trait adjectives May represent stereotypes May reflect real sex differences


23 Cultural Universals Emotional Expression
It is commonly believed that people in different cultures experience different emotions. Cultural variability in the presence or absence of emotion words has been interpreted by some personality psychologists to mean that cultures differ in the presence or absence of actually experiencing these emotions. Are emotions really culturally variable, or are there cultural universals in the experience of emotions? People of different cultures effortlessly recognize the emotions expressed on faces in photographs, however their language may not have similar words for the emotions. Pinker notes that whether a language has a word for a particular emotion or not matters little; the question is whether people experience the emotion in the same way. This concept of experiencing versus expressing may help solve the debate of universal emotions.

24 Personality Evaluation
Cultural Universals Personality Evaluation Are there universal personality descriptors? Possibility of “dominance” and “warmth” In research conducted by a cultural anthropologist, two clear personality traits emerged as being culturally universal: dominance and warmth. There are a few theories to explain this. Robert Hogan argues that these are universal dimensions because they describe the two most important tasks that humans have to accomplish in their interactions with others. Buss suggests that this universality stems from an evolutionary perspective on solving social adaptive problems. Much more evidence is needed, however, before we can conclude with certainty that these two dimensions represent a universal map used by everyone.

25 Cultural Universals Five-Factor Model
Some personality psychologists believe that this model represents more than just ways of evaluating people; it represents universal dimensions along which individuals differ The text contains a “closer look” into this model being a universal model.

26 Summary Evoked Culture Transmitted Culture Cultural Universals

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