Within-group similarities and between-group differences can be of any sort— physical, psychological, behavioral, or attitudinal. These phenomena are often referred to as cultural variations. Two ingredients are necessary to explain cultural variations: (1) a universal underlying mechanism and (2) environmental differences in the degree to which the underlying mechanism is activated.
cultural personality psychology
Cultural personality psychology generally has three key goals: (1) to discover the principles underlying the cultural diversity; (2) to discover how human psychology shapes culture; and (3) to discover how cultural understandings in turn shape our psychology (Fiske, Kitayama, Markus, & Nisbett, 1997).
Evoked culture refers to a way of considering culture that concentrates on phenomena that are triggered in different ways by different environmental conditions.
One key variable triggering communal food sharing is the degree of variability in food resources. Specifically, under high-variance conditions, there are substantial benefits to sharing.
Refers to how much a particular group displays equal treatment of all individuals within that group.
culture of honor
Nisbett proposed that the economic means of subsistence of a culture affects the degree to which the group develops "a culture of honor." In this culture, insults are viewed as highly offensive public challenges that must be met with direct confrontation and physical aggression. The theory is that differences in the degree to which honor becomes a central part of the culture rests ultimately with economics, and specifically the manner in which food is obtained.
Transmitted culture refers to representations originally in the mind of one or more persons that are transmitted to the minds of other people. Three examples of cultural variants that appear to be forms of transmitted culture are differences in moral values, self-concept, and levels of self-enhancement. Specific patterns of morality, such as whether it is considered appropriate to eat beef or wrong for a wife to go to the movies without her husband, are specific to certain cultures. These moral values appear to be transmitted from person to person within the culture.
Markus and Kitayama propose that each person has two fundamental "cultural tasks" that have to be confronted. The first is communion or interdependence. This cultural task involves how you are affiliated with, attached to, or engaged in the larger group of which you are a member. Interdependence includes your relationships with other members of the group and your embeddedness within the group.
Markus and Kitayama propose that each person has two fundamental "cultural tasks" that have to be confronted. One such task, agency or independence, involves how you differentiate yourself from the larger group. Independence includes your unique abilities, your personal internal motives and personality dispositions, and the ways in which you separate yourself from the larger group.
Balkanization refers to social re-segregation following a time of peaceful integration and social diversity. The term is derived from breakup of Yugoslavia on the Balkan peninsula during the 1990's, where national groups split apart and re-segregated the formerly integrated countries in the Balkans.
A sense of self as autonomous and independent, with priority given to personal goals.
In collectivist societies, people are interdependent with others in the group, giving priority to the goals of their in-groups. People in collectivist societies tend to be especially concerned about social relationships. They focus more on context, features external to their own wishes and goals. In collectivist societies, people tend to be more self-effacing, less likely to boast or brag about their own personal accomplishments.
Acculturation is the process of, after arriving in a new culture, adapting to the ways of life and beliefs common in that new culture.
To describe something analytically would be to explain the event with the object detached from its context, attributes of objects or people assigned to categories, and a reliance on rules about the categories to explain behavior.
Self-enhancement is the tendency to describe and present oneself using positive or socially valued attributes, such as kind, understanding, intelligent, and industrious. Tendencies toward self-enhancement tend to be stable over time, and hence are enduring features of personality (Baumeister, 1997).
Within-culture variations are variations within a particular culture that can arise from several sources, including differences in growing up in various socio-economic classes, differences in historical era, or differences in the racial context in which one grows up.
Variability between people based primarily on economic, educational, and employment variables. In terms of within-culture variation, social class can have an effect on personality (Kohn et al, 1990). For example, lower-class parents tend to emphasize the importance of obedience to authority, whereas higher-status parents tend to emphasize the importance of self-direction and not conforming to the dictates of others.
One type of intracultural variation pertains to the effects of historical era on personality. (People who grew up during the great economic depression of the 1930s, for example, might be more anxious about job security or adopting a more conservative spending style.) Disentangling the effects of historical era on personality is an extremely difficult endeavor since most currently used personality measures were not in use in earlier eras.
Cultural universals are features of personality that are common to everyone in all cultures. These universals constitute the human nature level of analyzing personality and define the elements of personality we share with all or most other people.
Whorfian hypothesis of linguistic relativity
In 1956, Whorf proposed the theory that language creates thought and experience. According to this Whorfian hypothesis, the ideas that people can think and the emotions they feel are constrained by the words that happen to exist in their language and culture and with which they use to express them.
The lexical hypothesis—on which the lexical approach is based—states that important individual differences have become encoded within the natural language. Over ancestral time, the differences between people that were important were noticed and words were invented to communicate about those differences.