Cross-Cultural Psychology

Cross-Cultural Psychology: A Stereotyping Study

Overview

A four-year longitudinal study investigated the adaptations of stereotypes of Finnish immigrants pre-migration and post-migration at both the group and individual level (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  The study was designed to learn the effects of increased contact with stereotypes as well as learn how stereotypes develop via Ingrian Finn and Russian hosts (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  Previous studies conducted on Princeton students indicated that national stereotypes did change. However, changes occurred over long periods of time but remained stable in shorter periods (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  Previous studies indicated intergroup contact either increased or decrease the stereotype consensus, but the evidence does not allow for a definitive conclusion (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  Additionally, prior studies also indicated that intraindividual contact the stability of the stereotype was only moderate (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  The stability indicates consensual stereotype change is likely influenced by common societal and institutional influences (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).   The more positive intraindividual contact is, the more likely a change of stereotype will occur (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).

 

Definitions

As the world evolves into diverse cultures, psychologists came to the understanding, the necessity of researching those cultures to find the actual causes of human behavior beyond a single culture (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  Cultural psychologists attempt to gain an understanding of human behavior by concerning itself with the influences culture has on the human mind (Hiles, 1996).  Wilhelm Wundt believed studying all aspects of culture would lead to studying the higher mental processes that could not be reached directly, rather indirectly through culture (Hiles, 1996).  Attempting to grasp an understanding of the causes of human behavior through a single culture may have bias results as those results may vary throughout different cultures (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  Cross – cultural psychologists gain understanding of human behavior by delving into the differences of cultural influences on behavior (Matsumosto & Juang, 2013).

In the stereotype study, individuals were given a questionnaire that defined the universal ten fundamental values (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  A consistency among the Finns and the Russians proved the two cultures share similar values, but the desire of the values differ among the two cultures (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  Culture has a significant impact on the desire for each value instilled in an individual from birth (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  The inconsistency of the desire of the values between the two cultures implies different cultures hold different beliefs and put emphasis in certain areas of development (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  Utilizing questionnaires with both the migrants and the hosts eliminated possible bias in the study (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  Evidence suggests that both cultures stay in line with the cultural belief of values as the values remained consistent throughout the four-year study (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).

Relationship

Cultural psychology focuses on the totality of the influence of culture on human behavior (Hiles, 1996).  Research includes studies on individual cultures that produces reasoning for certain behaviors (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  The increasing diversity in culture, mandates the necessity of comparing the different cultural effects on human behavior, as demonstrated by cross-cultural psychology (Hiles, 1996).  Research including only one culture provides results specific to that culture, but may prove different among other cultures (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  Cross-cultural psychology eliminates bias and produces results more consistent with all cultures and allows for a comparison between the diversity of the cultures (Hiles, 1996).  Comparing the differences in the cultural effects on the human mind creates a gateway to a more enhanced understanding of behavior among diversity (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  The Russian and Finn stereotype study was conducted on a group cultural level and an individual cultural level (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  The study yielded results that over time, individuals though more negative of the opposite culture implying that negative interaction among cultures builds up an equal amount of discrimination among the cultures which is stable throughout two different cultures (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  A study yielding the same results for two or more cultures allows for a studies evidence to be perceived as meaningful and relevant when implemented as a generalized theory (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).

Cross-cultural Research Methodology

Cross-cultural research is a method of scientific philosophy in which research and testing is used to validate a study conducted with ethical means and scientific methods involving the inclusion of various cultural backgrounds (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  The global perspective allows researchers to learn differences and similarities among diverse cultures and test whether behavior is culture-specific or universal among all cultures (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  It is imperative researchers establish a valid comparison that defines the reason behind the study (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  A comparative form of research is utilized as a means to link culture and behavior (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  Unpackaging studies measure the variable thought to produce the observed differences in behavior is tested to explain its role in behavior (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  Individual-level measure of culture assess the variable that is thought to be caused by culture (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  It is important that researchers are able to define potential bias in studies and bring the bias results to a level of equivalence in order for the comparison to be considered meaningful and relevant (Matsumoto & Jung, 2013).

The stereotyping study utilized questionnaire at three different intervals of time and evaluated pre-migration, inter-migration, and post – migration beliefs about the opposite culture (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  The results were compared to gain a mean score of change in values, beliefs, and perceived discrimination among the two cultures (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  The individual questionnaires were collaborated to compile a group mean score to track change at the group level (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).    Comparing both cultures over three intervals reduced the potential bias of the study as the questionnaires yielded similar results at all intervals during the study, eliminating potential buffed or exaggerated results (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  At the individual level, the stereotype profiles indicated only a moderate stability of pre-migration stereotype to post-migration stereotype suggesting Finns and Russians changed their personal pre-migration stereotype post-migration (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).

Ethnicity, Race, and Worldviews Relationships

Individuals develop perceptions based on the cultural beliefs that are instilled in them from birth (Matsumot & Juang, 2015).  As individuals are exposed to certain beliefs and customs, such as the fundamental values of life, they begin to put emphasis on achieving the societal expectations of those values.  Pre-migration, individuals shared similar stereotypes of the opposite culture in the study and the stereotypes we consistent among individuals allowing for a group consensus of the stereotype (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  Post-migration, the group stereotype emulated high consistency in the original stereotype indicating that the culture did not change their perception of the other culture (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  However, post-migration emulated that individuals had only moderate consistency of stereotyping implicating personal thoughts of the opposite culture had changed (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  He study proves cultures consistently hold the same values and beliefs, but when an individual is removed from one culture and placed into another, he or she may learn different values and beliefs causing an adaptation of prioritization of values set by the culture those values were adopted from.  Although different cultures and races are perceived through stereotyping, there is a universal system of values that correlates into all cultures, only at varying levels of prioritization (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).   It seems that initially, individuals are taught a particular belief and value system that forms the foundation of their self and world views.  However, when the person explores other cultures, the belief and value system is capable of being altered through new experiences.

Enculturation

Culture is an aspect of life that individuals begin learning from birth (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  All cultures aspire to become productive and competent in life, however, each cultures has a different definition of what it means to become these things (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  The rules of cultural behaviors are learned throughout development so that over time they become second nature and engagement in cultural behavior becomes unconscious (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  Socialization is the process by which societal norms, beliefs, attitudes, and values are learned throughout life (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  Socialization promotes enculturation, the process by which individuals learn and adopt culture as it becomes internalized and unconscious behavior (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).   In order for a stereotype to develop, societal expectations must be implanted in the individual, as societal norms, beliefs, attitudes, and values encompass our personal expectations of humans as a whole.   Once these psychological processes internalize, behavior and beliefs shape an individual’s perception of another person or group.  Enculturation includes adopting and adapting certain behavior based on the perceived societal norm (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  In the study, individuals had preconceived notion of the other culture creating a bias and discrimination of the other culture.  As the individual connected with the opposite culture, the preconceived stereotype created a negative interaction hindering the possibility of positivity to occur (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  Enculturation is unavoidable as it evolves through socialization from birth (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013) therefore, stereotyping will continue, although it is possible for stereotypes to change.

Conclusion

Stereotyping is unavoidable as evolves from the cultural and societal beliefs instilled in individuals at birth (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013).  A study conducted proves there is a universal system of values that varies in priority cross-culturally and may change when exposed to other cultures (Lönnqvist, Jasinskaja-Lahti, & Verkasalo, 2013).  Although there is a diversity of cultures, there is also many similarities that allow comparisons to be made giving well-rounded insight into behavior.

References:

Hiles, D. (1996, August 16-21). Cultural Psychology and the Centre-ground of Psychology. (Psychology, De Montfort University, Leicester. LE7 9SU. UK.). Retrieved from http://psy.dmu.ac.uk/drhiles/CPpaper.htm

Lönnqvist, J. E., Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., & Verkasalo, M. (2013). Group-level and intraindividual stability of national stereotypes: A four-year longitudinal study on Ingrian Finn immigrants’ pre- and post-migration stereotypes of a typical Finn. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44(5), 765-785.

Matsumoto, D., & Juang, L. (2013) An introduction to culture and psychology (5th ed) Wadsworth Cengage Learning Inc.

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