Culture and Social Behavior

Culture and Social Behavior

Culture and Social Behavior

Culture and Social Behavior

Synopsis

Cross-cultural differences have many important implications for social identity, social cognition, and interpersonal behavior. The 10th volume of the Ontario Symposia on Personality and Social Psychology focuses on East-West cultural differences and similarities and how this research can be applied to cross-cultural studies in general.

Culture and Social Behavior covers a range of topics from differences in basic cognitive processes to broad level cultural syndromes that pervade social arrangements, laws, and public representations. Leading researchers in the study of culture and psychology describe their work and their current perspective on the important questions facing the field. Pioneers in the field such as Harry Triandis and Michael Bond present their work, along with those who represent some newer approaches to the study of culture. Richard E. Nisbett concludes the book by discussing the historical development of the field and an examination of which aspects of culture are universal and which are culture-specific. By illustrating both the diversity and vitality of research on the psychology of culture and social behavior, the editors hope this volume will stimulate further research from psychologists of many cultural traditions.

Understanding cultural differences is now more important than ever due to their potential to spark conflict, violence, and aggression. As such, this volume is a "must have" for cultural researchers including those in social, cultural, and personality psychology, and interpersonal, cultural, and political communication, anthropology, and sociology.

Excerpt

The 10th Ontario Symposium on Personality and Social Psychology was held at the University of Western Ontario, June 21st to 23rd, 2002. The topic of the symposium was culture and social behavior, and the presentations covered a wide variety of issues in this area. As has become the fortunate custom of Ontario Symposia, the papers generated many interesting discussions among participants, as well as many productive interchanges with the approximately 100 additional audience members (20-25 faculty and 50-55 graduate students). Surprisingly, this included several students and psychologists from North America and around the world.

The current volume consists of the expanded and updated versions of papers presented initially at the conference. The span of time between the conference and the publication of the book is the result of the practice of giving the authors an opportunity to revise their papers based on, among other things, feedback obtained from other participants and audience members at the conference. Also, as has become customary, contributors, as well as the editors, provided comments on preliminary drafts of other participants' chapters—an undertaking for which we, as editors, are grateful.

Over the past decade, social psychological research in East Asian countries has blossomed and many scholars in Japan, China, and other countries publish regularly in the best journals in the field. Much of this research activity has been directed toward testing the generalizability of theories and findings from North American psychology to the eastern context. Numerous consequential differences have been identified. For example, western cultures tend to emphasize individuality in their socialization processes, whereas eastern cultures tend to emphasize the collectivity (connections to others and to groups). These cross-cultural differences have many important implications for social identity, social cognition, and interpersonal behavior. Though much of the research in this volume will discuss East-West cultural differences and similarities, contributors also focus on how this East-West research can help us in cross-cultural studies more generally.

The chapters in this book cover a range of topics from differences in basic cognitive processes (for example, Ji) to broad level cultural syndromes that pervade social arrangements, laws, and public representations (for example, Triandis, Kitayama). Methodologically, the conference also features a range of perspectives. Pioneers in the field of cross-cultural psychology such as Harry Triandis and Michael Bond present their work, along with those who represent some newer approaches to the study of culture. For example, researchers like Shinobu Kitayama and Steve Heine are cultural psychologists whose tools and approaches to understanding culture are different from those of cross-cultural psychologists. (Briefly and as an oversimplification, cross-cultural psychologists vii . . .

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