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Types of Cultures

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By hariharsha
Words 2344
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Psychological theories assume cultures and cross-cultures as stable and homogenous. But democracy, globalization, and high immigration rate brought a new interest for psychologists to think about cultural diversities in terms of psychology. Culture refers to many characteristics of a group of people, including attitudes, behaviors, customs and values that are transmitted from one generation to the next.
(In this term paper I had put more stress on “Emotions in cross-culture”.)
Emotions in cross-cultures:
Although emotions are universal phenomena, they are affected by culture. While some emotions are universal and are experienced similarly as a reaction to similar events in all cultures but some emotions are particularly culture specific and are experienced, reacted and provoked and perceived by surrounding society in complete different manner. Though Ethnographic studies shoe considerable cultural differences, no general conclusions can be drawn regarding what cultural aspects affect emotion or to how much extend do they influence emotion. It might be the same emotion but the event that revokes that specific emotion may be different in different cultures. The way a person perceives himself in a relation with the society affects his emotions.
Primary motives are common across all parts of the world. For example Hunger, Thirst is felt by every individual. But secondary motives such as success etc. depends on what society expects one to do and also external motivation which is again related to society. So in different cultures motives are also different and thus the type of arousal caused by particular motives is also different in different cultures.
Culture also will have some norms regarding how one should behave for a particular emotion. Individualistic cultures does not pose May norms regarding how on should express his emotions but will have very firm rules for feeling positively. In collectivistic cultures such as China, India, Japan, Mexico, Africa etc. feeling a particular emotion are rather loose compared to that of individualistic cultures, but had got firm rules on how one should behave having some emotion. In collectivistic culture there will be certain specific ways to express certain emotions and the people are expected to behave the same.
For example, in Individualistic culture one should be very happy and should strive for it. If he is not happy, means that he was not successful in his career and did fail in achieving goals. While in collectivistic culture no one gives much importance about why one is feeling emotional. In Confucian culture expression of emotions whether it is positive or negative is considered to be a social threat. In china Women are not expected to show their grief meaning that they had to suppress without letting it come out while the same in America one should exaggerate her emotions.
There is also a huge difference in expressive style of different emotions in different cultures. This cross-cultural variation explains why decoder recognizes the emotions or expressions of the encoder if both of them are of same cultural group. This may be due to cultural encoding with which both encoder and the decoder are familiar with or because of greater motive to decode expression of an in-group member. Similarly these differences in encoding and decoding make culturally out-group members very difficult to understand or to co-operate with. For example, there are differences in the type of conclusions made by American and African people based on how on shakes hand. And also sitting in front of elders is expected to be done in China while it is other way round in America.
In a particular test conducted on Asian and Caucasian groups, studies showed that Caucasians are able to recognize sad, anger, fear etc. and Asians were not able to recognize them well. This can be attributed to the fact that in Asian cultures display of such negative emotions were not common and so Asian people are not familiar with such expressions.
Culture also affects ones well-being which includes life satisfaction and balancing positive effect and negative effect in daily life. Culture does this by redirecting our interests to different sources of information for making life satisfaction judgments, thus affecting ones well-being. It is obvious from the above discussion that individualistic cultures give their primary attention towards inner feelings (both positive and negative). Life satisfaction is primary aim in individualistic culture while following normal rules is equally important in collectivistic culture. In collectivistic cultures the main attention is to the source of diversion which helps ones better feeling.
Culture is an important factor in shaping individual behavior through a set of attitudes, beliefs and through the values shared by a large population of the region. Culture teaches its individuals the values in a society that express cultural ideas which are good and desirable. These values should facilitate or discourage certain emotional expression. Individualistic culture gives more cultural value to anger, disgust and joy. Meaning they facilitate these emotions. In collectivistic cultures, negative emotions are not encouraged to be shown.
A test was conducted (Source: to show how cultural values will have effect over emotional expression. Samples were taken and tested from all over the world. The important effect of cultural values in collectivistic culture is that it constrains non-verbal expression of negative emotions such as shame, guilt and fear. This was because of social norms and values of that specific culture. Fear interferes with social participation. The participants from the individualistic culture did express joy to a greater extent than in collectivistic culture. This was because expressing joy may interfere with interdependence and high embeddedness as it was an individualistic expression. And expression of anger is not expressed in more educated cultures. Because expression of anger may be distracting with one’s individual goals and only educated people are accustomed with not showing anger.
Individualism-Collectivism Theories:
The self in collectivistic culture is interdependence, and then he focuses predominately on his relationship with the group members or the group as a whole. But in Individualistic culture the self will have an individual view and try to be independent form others in the group by expressing his unique inner attributes. This view that he is independent in that group or culture leads to the perception that, his emotions are unique personal experience. But in collectivistic culture emotions are experienced out of relationships. It means in a given social situation all people are expected to have same/similar emotional feeling. They reflect the social scene rather than ones individual feeling.
Definition of self: * Collectivists’ view self as interdependent with others, which is carried on by sharing of resources as if it was in a family * Individualists’ view the self as an independent from cultural groups and society, in which sharing is up to their wish.
Individualism or collectivism has a direct impact on one’s psychology on the way that how his personality has to do with Individualism-collectivism, because customs, norms and institutional rules are dependent on culture which shapes into psychological personality. For example, Asian cultures give more importance on collectivism and interdependence. When Japanese and American students were given a questionnaire in which a list of situations in which their self-esteem would increase or decrease, in spite graduating in same college, Americans had shown that they would enhance their esteem while Japanese students showed other way round. This means that Japanese students had given more value for their cultural aspects while American students had given more value for their individualism.
For collectivists, individual goals are usually in coherence with that of in-group goals. For individualists, an individual goal has got nothing to do with that of in-group goals. If individual goal and in-group goals clashes, collectivists give importance to in-group goals while in case of collectivists it is other way round. And also then collectivists play very little attention to individual goals.
Traditional continuity and change in terms of independence and interdependence has effect on individual. Ethics and history of a particular culture is the one thing most told by elders to their children and this will have a very huge influence on how individual develops ones personality. Because it is when we start imagining ourselves in an idealized personality and these personalities are the ones ethics form keeping in mind, how they think future generations excel. And also elders who had more time to spend with children especially typical housewife culture will mainly make up this stream in which parents and ethics will have influence and thus collectiveness and interdependence come from.

Adaption in Modern Society:
Generally if in some culture, a specific work was more general or more respected, people tend to do the same. It means if at all having innate capabilities of particular kind is common in some culture no one would care about it, but if he goes into other ethnic group, he would be able to do well because of that innate capability. It is that he is not very intellectual to do that work but he had some innate abilities to do that. For example, Indians work hard and if one does so in some other region doesn’t mean he had interest or some other thing more than what he had acquired from his culture. So generally all the innate capabilities of an individual will include the culture specific qualities. Similarly culture plays a major role in how one is going to take social inequalities in society and also financially in employment and performance. And also minority communities form a negative complexion by being pessimistic in the case of their child’s future and development.
Child development:
This environment around the child is the starting point of a chain leading to adult personality. Child rearing is culture dependent on culture comprising obedience training differences, responsibility training, caring for other siblings in the family, values training, achievement training. This will have a huge impact on how this child is going to behave once he grows up and how his personality is going to mold. Every parent wants his child to carry on the legacy of their family and strategies that would help in survival of their child and their culture. This would be starting point where child’s superego starts forming and changing which plays a vital role in the personality development and also the behavior of the child.
Personality and Traits across cultures:
Personality is concerned with behavior of a person and distinguishes that person from others. Personality keeps on changing in virtue of the affects the surrounding environment had on him. The external affects is the reason that culture had a major influence over ones personality.
The uniqueness of a person in a tradition can be expressed as a combination of specific traits. A trait is “a lasting characteristic attributed to person”. For example dominance, disgust, sociability and persistence are some traits. Personality traits are not common or same across cultures. For example, in one culture one set of traits are sufficient to express every individual and that sets are not globalized.
Feminine vs. Masculine Cultures and the voice effect: In masculine cultures people give importance to achievement, while in feminine cultures people give importance to bring equality between rich and the poor, caring, consciousness and gentleness. A culture is masculine or feminine depends on how culture excretes stress on success or achievement. Examples of feminine culture are Netherlands, France, Portugal, Costa Rica, Thailand etc. and examples of masculine cultures is America, Japan, Germany, Britain, Mexico, Philippines etc.. The competitive achievement in emphasized because of national culture or because of situational prompt which makes them to do so.
In masculine cultures that emphasize achievement, people with higher capabilities will like to have an opportunity to voice out their decisions that are related with their capabilities and will be dissatisfied when they don’t get one. On the other hand, people with lower capabilities are not expected to raise their voice to opportunities. Thus in masculine cultures, people with higher capabilities will be more satisfied to opportunities while people with lower capabilities, satisfaction will not be that much related to the voice that they had risen. While in feminine cultures, people with lower capabilities when provided by a chance to raise voice feel as an important group member. So it is the reverse of the case as above said in feminine cultures compared to that of masculine cultures. In feminine cultures, everyone will have group value and relationships are given a greater importance than in that of masculine cultures.
In masculine culture, people with higher capability feel empowered for success in which they have potential to do so and hence they would like to raise their voice about the decisions and opinions they have. On the other hand, in feminine culture, people with lower capabilities will feel empowered when they get an opportunity for them to raise their voice because they feel themselves as an important member of the group. From this we conclude that in masculine cultures although there are relationships, they were not pronounced as in feminine culture and also those people will have many more important things in comparative with that of relationship. But in feminine culture, social relationships are given at most importance by the society and each and every member in the group is treated more or less equally.
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