CULTURE AND PERSONALITY:
BASIC CONCEPTS: culture & cultural syndromes
CULTURE & PERSONALITY: Benet-Martinez’s
work
2 Approaches:
Lexical / Taxonomic
Socio-cognitive
One of my favorite quotes ….
Every person is in certain respects
a) like all other people,
b) like some other person,
c) like no other person.
(Kluckhohn & Murray, 1948)
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
SELF
INDEPENDENT SELF
SELF
INTER-DEPENDENT SELF
VERTICAL
USA
India
COLLECTIVISTIC
INDIVIDUALISTIC
Israel?
Sweden
HORIZONTAL
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)
P O S IT IV E V A L E N C E
N E G A T IV E V A L E N C E
A m a z in g
S u p e r io r
F o r m id a b le
R e s p le n d e n t
N o t s p e c ia l
M e d io c r e
62
58
56
56
-35
-40
C O N S C IE N T IO U S N E S S
W e ll- b a la n c e d
M o d e r a te
R e a s o n a b le
H a s ty
R e c k le s s
C ra z y
64
54
53
-42
-43
-49
43
41
41
39
39
38
S ic k e n in g
T e r r if y in g
F ilth y
G re a sy
C ru e l
W ic k e d
AG REEABLENESS
E a s y - g o in g
G o o d - n a tu r e d
D o c ile
S to r m y
U n r e c o n c ilin g
U n y ie ld in g
54
49
46
-45
-47
-48
O PENNESS
B o h e m ia n
M y s tic a l
Q u a in t
G o s s ip in g
D is c lo s in g
N osy
38
40
42
-36
-34
-30
PLEASANTNESS
H appy
E n g e r g e tic
R e la x e d
S tr e s s e d
D e p re sse d
U nhappy
54
53
48
–53
–54
–56
ENGAGEM ENT
A rd e n t
S e e th in g
I n te n s e
C o ld
I d le
U n e m o tio n a l
43
36
35
-34
-30
-37
C IR C U M P L E X M O D E L O F A F F E C T
A roused
E n gagem en t
F earful
H i N egative
A ffect
H i P ositive E nthusiastic
A ffect
S a d U n p leasan tn ess
P leasan tn ess H appy
L o P ositive
Sluggish
A ffect
L o N egative
A ffect C alm
D isen gagem en t
Sleepy
A d ap ted fro m L arsen & D ien er (1 9 9 2 )
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
IN D IG E N O U S S P A N IS H B IG 7
IM P O R T E D B IG 7
P os. Valen ce
P ositive
Valen ce
N egative
Valen ce
Agreablen ess
C on scien - O p en n ess P leasan t- En gagetiou sn ess
n ess
m en t
79
N eg. Valen ce
47
Agreeablen ess
71
C on scien tiou s.
60
O p en n ess
22
Extraversion
75
-4 3
N eu roticism
A v erag e
O ff-D iagon al
C o rrelation s
(1 9)
(0 7)
(1 0)
(2 5)
(1 1)
(2 0)
45
40
(0 9)
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.
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Culture and Social/Personality Processes: Lexical