🔥 Culture and Emotion – Introduction to Psychology

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Mesquita () took this a step further, by suggesting that emotional experience varies greatly across cultures. Page 2. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.


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This chapter discusses in what ways culture influences emotional processes. The authors propose that different cultural models of agency may influence various.


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The other critical part is what we call the group's emotional culture: the shared affective values, norms, artifacts, and assumptions that govern which emotions.


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Mesquita () took this a step further, by suggesting that emotional experience varies greatly across cultures. Page 2. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.


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In terms of cultural differences they underscore that the social signal value of emotional expressions may vary with culture as a function of cultural.


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Mesquita () took this a step further, by suggesting that emotional experience varies greatly across cultures. Page 2. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.


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Mesquita () took this a step further, by suggesting that emotional experience varies greatly across cultures. Page 2. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.


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Emotions are cultural phenomena because we learn to have them in a cultural way. We don't really know discrete emotions when we are born;.


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The other critical part is what we call the group's emotional culture: the shared affective values, norms, artifacts, and assumptions that govern which emotions.


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The other critical part is what we call the group's emotional culture: the shared affective values, norms, artifacts, and assumptions that govern which emotions.


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However, when researchers examined actual affect, they found this to be reversed: actual affect was more strongly associated with temperamental factors than cultural factors.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} But, among Hong Kong Chinese—you guessed it! Social constructivists contended that because cultural ideas and practices are all-encompassing, people are often unaware of how their feelings are shaped by their culture. Given the wide range of cultures and facets of emotion in the world, for the remainder of the module we will limit our scope to the two cultural contexts that have received the most empirical attention by social scientists: North America United States, Canada and East Asia China, Japan, and Korea. Markus and Kitayama argue that these different models of self have significant implications for how people in Western and East Asian contexts feel. Thus, future research examining other cultural contexts is needed. Understanding cultural similarities and differences in emotion is obviously critical to understanding emotions in general, and the flexibility of emotional processes more specifically. This is the assumption underlying hydraulic models of emotion: the idea that emotional suppression and repression impair psychological functioning Freud, Indeed, significant empirical research shows that suppressing emotions can have negative consequences for psychological well-being in North American contexts Gross, However, Soto and colleagues find that the relationship between suppression and psychological well-being varies by culture. On the other hand, since for Hong Kong Chinese, emotional suppression is needed to adjust to others in this interdependent community, suppressing emotions is how to appropriately interact with others , it is simply a part of normal life and therefore not associated with depression or life satisfaction. Although people of all cultures experience this range of affective states, they can vary in their preferences for each. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}These studies reveal both cultural similarities and differences in various aspects of emotional life. But happiness is based on other factors as well. Specifically, the researchers argued that in North American contexts, the dominant model of the self is an independent one, in which being a person means being distinct from others and behaving accordingly across situations. Might European Americans just be more emotional than East Asians because of genetics? Thus, muted responses which resemble suppression are associated with depression in European American contexts, but not in East Asian contexts. In order to communicate and function effectively in such situations, we must understand the ways cultural ideas and practices shape our emotions. An independent model, however, encourages people to express themselves and stand out, so when something good happens, they have no reason to feel bad. A considerable body of empirical research suggests that these different models of self shape various aspects of emotional dynamics. Thus, while the physiological aspects of emotional responses appear to be similar across cultures, their accompanying facial expressions are more culturally distinctive. Indeed, since this initial work, Matsumoto and his colleagues have demonstrated widespread cultural differences in display rules Safdar et al. Moreover, since the s large-scale studies have revealed that North American and East Asian contexts differ in their overall values and attitudes, such as the prioritization of personal vs. An alternative explanation for cultural differences in emotion is that they are due to temperamental factors—that is, biological predispositions to respond in certain ways. In North American, independent contexts, feelings about the self matter more, whereas in East Asian, interdependent contexts, feelings about others matter as much as or even more than feelings about the self. Next we will discuss several ways culture shapes emotion, starting with emotional response. In addition, because more and more people are being raised within multiple cultural contexts e. So far, we have reviewed research that demonstrates cultural similarities in physiological responses and in the ability to suppress emotions. These universalists believed that emotions evolved as a response to the environments of our primordial ancestors, so they are the same across all cultures. Across all of these cultures, the kids who were read stories with exciting content were afterward more likely to value excited states, whereas those who were read stories with calm content were more likely to value calm states. For instance, when shown sad or amusing film clips, depressed European Americans respond less intensely than their nondepressed counterparts. True, with European Americans, emotional suppression is associated with higher levels of depression and lower levels of life satisfaction. But is this true? In the s and s, social scientists tended to fall into either one of two camps. These findings are consistent with research suggesting that factors related to clinical depression vary between European Americans and Asian Americans. We have also discussed the cultural differences in facial expressive behavior and the likelihood of experiencing negative feelings during positive events. Conversely, in East Asian contexts that promote an interdependent self, individuals tend to control and suppress their emotions to adjust to others. Social scientists have focused on North American and East Asian contexts because they differ in obvious ways, including their geographical locations, histories, languages, and religions. As a test, after hearing the stories, the kids were shown a list of toys and asked to select their favorites. That is, regardless of culture, people tend to respond similarly in terms of physiological or bodily expression. As well, future studies should examine other ways cultural ideas regarding emotion are transmitted e. For example, although Western contexts are similar in many ways, specific Western contexts e. In North American contexts, people rarely feel bad after good experiences. Nevertheless, most researchers believe that despite genetic differences in founder populations i. If the cultural ideal in North American contexts is to express oneself, then suppressing emotions not showing how one feels should have negative consequences. For example, several studies have shown that people engage in activities e. Throughout, we will highlight the scientific and practical importance of these findings and conclude with recommendations for future research. At the same time, though, they found considerable variability across cultures in recognition rates. Thus, awareness of negative emotions during positive events may discourage people from expressing their excitement and standing out as in East Asian contexts. Such studies may also reveal additional, uninvestigated dimensions or models that have broad implications for emotion. Remember, in these individualistic societies, the expression of emotion is a fundamental aspect of positive interactions with others. In India, this signals embarrassment; however, in the U. Recent studies indicate that culture affects whether people are likely to feel bad during good events. Given the central role that emotions play in our interaction, understanding cultural similarities and differences is especially critical to preventing potentially harmful miscommunications. These endeavors are yielding new insights into the effects of cultural on emotion. According to Kroeber and Kluckhohn , cultural ideas are reflected in and reinforced by practices, institutions, and products. In North American contexts, such success is considered an individual achievement and worth celebrating. Across a variety of settings—academic, business, medical—people worldwide are coming into more contact with people from foreign cultures. To investigate this further, the researchers randomly assigned European American, Asian American, and Taiwanese Chinese preschoolers to be read either stories with exciting content or stories with calm content. Therefore, they accept that positive and negative feelings can occur simultaneously. When reliving events that elicited happiness, pride, and love, European Americans smiled more frequently and more intensely than did their Hmong counterparts—though all participants reported feeling happy, proud, and in love at similar levels of intensity. But they greet you with a smile and you sense that, despite the differences you observe, deep down inside these people have the same feelings as you. Again, these findings are consistent with cultural differences in models of the self. Again, these differences in ideal affect i. Such emotional suppression helps individuals feel in sync with those around them. Ekman and Friesen then took photos of people posing with these different expressions Figure This led Ekman and his colleagues to conclude that there are universally recognized emotional facial expressions. That is, people from North American contexts who value high arousal affective states tend to prefer thrilling activities like skydiving, whereas people from East Asian contexts who value low arousal affective states prefer tranquil activities like lounging on the beach Tsai, In addition, people base their conceptions of well-being and happiness on their ideal affect. Those who heard the exciting stories wanted to play with more arousing toys like a drum that beats loud and fast , whereas those who heard the calm stories wanted to play with less arousing toys like a drum that beats quiet and slow. Thus, the more that individuals and cultures want to influence others as in North American contexts , the more they value excitement, enthusiasm, and other high arousal positive states. Do people from opposite ends of the world really feel the same emotions? Therefore, European Americans are more likely to define well-being in terms of excitement, whereas Hong Kong Chinese are more likely to define well-being in terms of calmness. What factors make people happy or satisfied with their lives? An affective state is essentially the type of emotional arousal one feels coupled with its intensity—which can vary from pleasant to unpleasant e. Today, most scholars agree that emotions and other related states are multifaceted, and that cultural similarities and differences exist for each facet. In East Asian contexts, however, the dominant model of the self is an interdependent one, in which being a person means being fundamentally connected to others and being responsive to situational demands. Although only a few studies have simultaneously measured these different aspects of emotional response, those that do tend to observe more similarities than differences in physiological responses between cultures. And similar patterns have emerged in studies comparing European Americans with Chinese Americans during different emotion-eliciting tasks Tsai et al. At the level of physiological arousal e. Indeed, this may be one reason Asian Americans are often overlooked for top leadership positions Hyun, In addition to averting cultural miscommunications, recognizing cultural similarities and differences in emotion may provide insights into other paths to psychological health and well-being. These different models of the self result in different principles for interacting with others. Studies of emotional response tend to focus on three components: physiology e. Consistent with these findings, Oishi and colleagues found in a study of 39 nations that self-esteem was more strongly correlated with life satisfaction in more individualistic nations compared to more collectivistic ones. In other words, rather than using social norms as a guideline for what constitutes an ideal life, people in individualistic cultures tend to evaluate their satisfaction according to how they feel emotionally. Researchers also found that in individualistic cultures people rated life satisfaction based on their emotions more so than on social definitions or norms. However, other studies have shown that depressed East Asian Americans i. However, their facial expressive behavior told a different story. This may be because, compared with North Americans, East Asians engage in more dialectical thinking i. More studies are needed to assess whether a similar process occurs when children and adults are chronically exposed to various types of cultural products. An independent model of self teaches people to express themselves and try to influence others i. Everything—the sights, the smells, the sounds—seems strange. But how does culture shape other aspects of emotional life—such as how people emotionally respond to different situations, how they want to feel generally, and what makes them happy? However, there are obviously a multitude of other cultural contexts in which emotional differences likely exist. Again, these differences can be linked to cultural differences in models of the self. An interdependent model encourages people to think about how their accomplishments might affect others e. Therefore emotions can feel automatic, natural, physiological, and instinctual, and yet still be primarily culturally shaped. In the s, Paul Ekman conducted one of the first scientific studies to address the universalist—social constructivist debate.