PSY 336 Chapter 3

  1. What is Culture?
    Consists of meanings, conceptions, and interpretive schemes that are activated, constructed, or brought "on-line" through participation in normative social institutions and practices (including linguistic practices) ... giving shape to the psychological processes in individuals in a society
  2. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Romanticism)
    • Religious sensibility based on how you feel rather than on authority
    • People's natural emotions indicate what is right
  3. Romanticism
    • In 1800, Romanticism became firmly ingrained into Western Culture
    • Romantics were fascinated by the natural and emphasis emotional experience
    • Beliefs about human nature → saw emotions as original, primordial, authentic causes of behavior
  4. Cultural Approach of Emotion
    • Assumption that emotions constructed by process of culture
    • Matters are not universal
    • Interest in the differences of emotions
    • Emotions can be thought of as roles that people fulfill to play out culture-specific identities and relationships
  5. Self-Construal Approach
    • Independent Self-Construal (Individualism)
    • Interdependent Self-Construal (Collectivism)
  6. Independent Self-Construal (Individualism)
    • The self is autonomous and separate from others
    • Assert one's distinctiveness and independence
    • When explaining human behavior, the focus is on internal causes, such as one's own dispositions or preferences (personality), which are thought of as stable across time and social context
  7. Interdependent Self-Construal (Collectivism)
    • The self is fundamentally connected with other people
    • Imperative to find one's status, and role within the community and other collectives
    • In explaining human behavior, the emphasis is on the social context and the situational influences on behavior
  8. Cultures differ in their emotional responses according to whether the elicitors of emotion are...
    socially "engaging" (interdependent) and involve other people, or "disengaging" (independent) so that they primarily involve the self
  9. People high in INDIVIDUALISM
    • I take pride in accomplishing what no one else can accomplish
    • I am unique - different from others in many respects
  10. People who have a COLLECTIVIST attitude
    • To understand who I am, you must see me with members of my group
    • Before making a decision, I always consult with others
  11. Values Approach
    • Seeks to understand cultural differences in emotion in terms of values
    • These values govern how we as members of a culture coexist in communities and accomplish tasks like allocating resources
    • Members of cultures that differ in the specific values should experience different elicitors of emotions related to that value
  12. Hypercognized
    Emotion is recognized, has special names, and is the subject of social discussion
  13. Hypocognized
    Emotions that are barely noticed in some cultures; not conceptualized or commented on
  14. Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
    • Humans require language to think, and therefore we have only those experiences, thoughts, and perceptions for which we have words (People can't feel without word)
    • Weak evidence: People might readily experience of express and emotion for which they have a word than one for which they lack a word
  15. Display Rules
    • Thought to influence how and to whom it is appropriate to express different emotions
    • Learn these rules from the people around us, and cultures vary somewhat in their rules and expectations
  16. Ekman & Friesen
    • 25 American males + 25 Japanese males
    • Phase 1: watched film clips alone of canoe trip and nasal sinus surgery
    • Phase 2: Graduate student interviewed them about experience
    • Phase 3: watched film clips with interviewer room looking at them
    • When alone, they displayed similar facial expressions
    • During phase 3, Japanese smiled more and inhibited negative expressions more than Americans
  17. The Epistemological Approach
    • Epistemologies
    • Western culture - linear epistemology
    • East Asian culture - dialectical epistemology
  18. Epistemologies
    Knowledge structures and theories that guide patterns of thought, affect, and behavior in domain-specific ways
  19. Western culture - linear epistemology
    • Heavily influenced by works of Aristotle 
    • "Knowing" something means knowing what is constant and unchanging about it
  20. East Asian culture - dialectical epistemology
    • Heavily influenced by Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism
    • True knowledge involves understanding that reality is changing, not constant; all things are interrelated, not separate, and the same proposition can be both true & false
  21. East Asians VS Americans
    • East Asians might experience greater emotional complexity
    • Westerners might focus more on singular meanings of a situation, and experience simpler emotions
  22. Ethnographies
    • In-depth descriptions of the social lives of members of a particular culture
    • Focus not only on just what emotions occur, but their settings and cultural significance
    • Focus on discourse - the means by which people use language, in its many forms, to make sense, socially, of emotional experience
  23. Historical Approaches
    • Looking at religious texts, etiquette manuals, poems and love songs, and popular music have been revealing of the emotional life of a culture at specific historical moments
    • Ex: Western idea of being in love
  24. Methodological Issues in Studying Culture
    • Majority of psychological researchers come from prosperous, first-world countries, which may affect how easily they can gain access
    • Makes it difficult to understand "culture" as something distinct from "how East Asia is different from North America"
    • Cultures do not follow national boundaries
    • Consider subcultures and cultural difference across time
    • Self-reports are often used
    • Self-reports involve comparing yourself to "others" (i.e. people you know, who are probably within your culture)
  25. Evolutionary Approach VS Cultural Approach to Emotion
    • What is an emotion?
    • Evolutionary Approach: Biological processes
    • Cultural Approach: Language, beliefs, roles

    • Are emotions universal?
    • Evolutionary Approach: Yes
    • Cultural Approach: Possibly not

    • What are the origins of emotions?
    • Evolutionary Approach: Environment of evolutionary adaptedness
    • Cultural Approach: Practices, institutions, values

    • Individual functions
    • Evolutionary Approach: Action readiness
    • Cultural Approach: Reify intentions and values

    • Dyadic functions
    • Evolutionary Approach: Social coordination
    • Cultural Approach: Reify roles, identities, and ideologies
  26. Integrating Evolutionary and Cultural Approaches to Emotion
    • Both assume emotions contribute solutions to basic problems of social living
    • Both assume emotions help humans form attachments, take care of offspring, fold into hierarchies, and maintain long-term friendships
    • Once an emotion-eliciting appraisal occurs , the corresponding emotional experience and nervous system changes are pretty sure to follow no matter what culture you grew up in
    • The frequency of various appraisals can differ substantially from culture to culture, so that a given emotion may be experienced quite a lot in one culture but not so much in another
    • Different cultures can have their own rules about how people should act when they experience an emotion, depending on the exact situation
Card Set
PSY 336 Chapter 3
Cultural Understandings of Emotions