CULTURE AND PERSONALITY: BASIC CONCEPTS: culture & cultural syndromes CULTURE & PERSONALITY: Benet-Martinez’s work 2 Approaches: Lexical / Taxonomic Socio-cognitive
Every person is in certain respects a) like all other people, b) like some other person, c) like no other person. (Kluckhohn & Murray, 1948) One of my favorite quotes ….
GENERAL QUESTIONS: As people of varying cultures and ethnicities, how are we different and how are we alike? How do culture and ethnicity shape our identities and personalities?
CULTURE: Shared systems of meaning that provide the standards for perceiving, believing, evaluating, communicating, and acting among those who share a language, a historic period, and a geographic location. (Shweder & LeVine, 1984). Useful metaphor -> culture = game rules
Culture Race or Ethnicity Question for the class: Who can explain the differences between these?
Cultural Syndromes (TAXONOMY OF CULTURAL DIFFERENCES) 2 basic dimensions of cultural difference: (Hofstede, 1983) Individualism/Collectivism: extent to which the self is defined as a bound and separate (vs. fluid and interdependent). Independent/Interdependent Selves (Markus & Kitayama, 1991) Vertical/Horizontal Relationships: emphasis on hierarchy and status versus equality
VERTICAL HORIZONTAL INDIVIDUALISTIC COLLECTIVISTIC USA India Israel? Sweden
Culture & Personality: Benet-Martinez’s studies Two different approaches: (1) LEXICAL/TAXONOMIC Basic dimensions of personality in Spanish? (2) SOCIO-COGNITIVE Modeling Biculturalism in the Laboratory
CULTURE AND PERSONALITY: (1) PSYCHO-LEXICAL Key idea: Language as a window to the ‘personality’ of a particular culture My work: Exploration of basic dimensions of personality description in different languages Method: ‘Combined emic-etic’ approach; factor analysis
(1) LEXICAL APPROACH Natural language as a window to study cultural universals/differences in personality FUNDAMENTAL LEXICAL HYPOTHESIS: Those psychological constructs that are the most salient and socially relevant in people’s lives will eventually become encoded into their language; the more important is such construct: (1) the more likely it is to be expressed as a single word and be overepresented in the language; and (2) the more languages and cultures will have a word for it. (Goldberg, 1982)
Are the English Big Five (Seven) cross-culturally robust? Yes in Spanish (using translated American measures) (JPSP: Benet-Martinez & Waller, 1995; JPSP: Benet-Martinez & John, 1998) NEED FOR ANOTHER STUDY THAT: (1) Identifies the basic indigenous dimensions of personality description in Spanish (2) Assesses the overlap/specificity between these indigenous Spanish dimensions and the American Big 7.
(1) LEXICAL APPROACH Exploring Indigenous Spanish Personality Constructs with a Combined Emic-Etic Approach (Benet-Martinez & Waller, 1997; Benet-Martinez, 2000) GOALS OF THE STUDIES: (1) To identify the basic indigenous dimensions of personality description in Spanish (2) To assess the overlap/specificity between these indigenous Spanish dimensions and the American Big 7
COMBINED ETIC/EMIC APPROACH (Yang & Bond, 1990) EMIC APPROACH: Reliance on indigenous measures or models --> in this study: self-reports on 299 indigenous Spanish personality adjectives from the dictionary PLUS ETIC APPROACH: Reliance on imported measures of models --> in this study: self-reports on Spanish-translated Big Seven and Big Five questionnaires Sample N = 894 college students from Spain who completed both emic and etic measures
Results from factor analysis of emic measure: 7 INDIGENOUS SPANISH PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS Examples of marker items (translated from Spanish)
PLEASANTNESS & ENGAGEMENT in Spain: Gran placer y poco duelo es el deseo de todo hombre. (Much pleasure and little pain is every man’s desire) --Spanish proverb Spaniards..... passion is the seed that brings them forth, and passion is the flower they bear. --George Orwell (Homage to Catalonia)
ALMODOVAR’S FILMS: A celebration of pleasure/pain and passion Kinder, M. (1987). Pleasure and the New Spanish Mentality: A Conversation With Pedro Almodovar. Film Quarterly, vol 41.1, 33 - 44. Pally, M. (1991). The Politics of Passion: Pedro Almodovar and the Camp Esthetic. Cineaste Magazine, vol 12 issue 3.
OVERLAP BETWEEN THE INDIGENOUS (EMIC) SPANISH PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS AND IMPORTED (ETIC) BIG 7 INVENTORY
CONCLUSIONS FROM STUDIES: (1) There is considerable overlap between the Spanish Siete Grandes and the American Big 7 (1b) Exception: Pleasantness and Engagement (instead of E & N) (2) Positive and Negative Valence seem fairly robust across these two cultures.