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By the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Discuss personality differences of people from collectivist and individualist cultures
  • Discuss the three approaches to studying personality in a cultural context

As you have learned in this chapter, personality is shaped by both genetic and environmental factors. The culture    in which you live is one of the most important environmental factors that shapes your personality (Triandis&Suh, 2002). The term culture    refers to all of the beliefs, customs, art, and traditions of a particular society. Culture is transmitted to people through language as well as through the modeling of culturally acceptable and nonacceptable behaviors that are either rewarded or punished (Triandis&Suh, 2002). With these ideas in mind, personality psychologists have become interested in the role of culture in understanding personality. They ask whether personality traits are the same across cultures or if there are variations. It appears that there are both universal and culture-specific aspects that account for variation in people’s personalities.

Why might it be important to consider cultural influences on personality? Western ideas about personality may not be applicable to other cultures (Benet-Martinez&Oishi, 2008). In fact, there is evidence that the strength of personality traits varies across cultures. Let’s take a look at some of the Big Five factors (conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness, and extroversion) across cultures. As you will learn when you study social psychology, Asian cultures are more collectivist, and people in these cultures tend to be less extroverted. People in Central and South American cultures tend to score higher on openness to experience, whereas Europeans score higher on neuroticism (Benet-Martinez&Karakitapoglu-Aygun, 2003).

According to this study, there also seem to be regional personality differences within the United States ( [link] ). Researchers analyzed responses from over 1.5 million individuals in the United States and found that there are three distinct regional personality clusters: Cluster 1, which is in the Upper Midwest and Deep South, is dominated by people who fall into the “friendly and conventional” personality; Cluster 2, which includes the West, is dominated by people who are more relaxed, emotionally stable, calm, and creative; and Cluster 3, which includes the Northeast, has more people who are stressed, irritable, and depressed. People who live in Clusters 2 and 3 are also generally more open (Rentfrow et al., 2013).

A map of the United States is shown. Above it is the label “Personality Clusters in the Continental United States.” Below it is a legend which defines areas in the map as either, “Cluster 1: friendly, conventional;” “Cluster 2: relaxed, creative;” or “Cluster 3: temperamental, uninhibited.” Cluster 1occurs mainly in the center of the country. Cluster 2 occurs mainly on the west side of the country. Cluster 3 occurs mainly in the North-East region of the country and also in Texas. These are generalizations; there are several states which are comprised of a combination of two different clusters.
Researchers found three distinct regional personality clusters in the United States. People tend to be friendly and conventional in the Upper Midwest and Deep South; relaxed, emotionally stable, and creative in the West; and stressed, irritable, and depressed in the Northeast (Rentfrow et al., 2013).

One explanation for the regional differences is selective migration    (Rentfrow et al., 2013). Selective migration is the concept that people choose to move to places that are compatible with their personalities and needs. For example, a person high on the agreeable scale would likely want to live near family and friends, and would choose to settle or remain in such an area. In contrast, someone high on openness would prefer to settle in a place that is recognized as diverse and innovative (such as California).

Personality in individualist and collectivist cultures

Individualist cultures and collectivist cultures place emphasis on different basic values. People who live in individualist cultures tend to believe that independence, competition, and personal achievement are important. Individuals in Western nations such as the United States, England, and Australia score high on individualism (Oyserman, Coon,&Kemmelmier, 2002). People who live in collectivist cultures value social harmony, respectfulness, and group needs over individual needs. Individuals who live in countries in Asia, Africa, and South America score high on collectivism (Hofstede, 2001; Triandis, 1995). These values influence personality. For example, Yang (2006) found that people in individualist cultures displayed more personally oriented personality traits, whereas people in collectivist cultures displayed more socially oriented personality traits.

Approaches to studying personality in a cultural context

There are three approaches that can be used to study personality in a cultural context, the cultural-comparative approach ; the indigenous approach ; and the combined approach , which incorporates elements of both views. Since ideas about personality have a Western basis, the cultural-comparative approach seeks to test Western ideas about personality in other cultures to determine whether they can be generalized and if they have cultural validity (Cheung van de Vijver,&Leong, 2011). For example, recall from the previous section on the trait perspective that researchers used the cultural-comparative approach to test the universality of McCrae and Costa’s Five Factor Model. They found applicability in numerous cultures around the world, with the Big Five traits being stable in many cultures (McCrae&Costa, 1997; McCrae et al., 2005). The indigenous approach came about in reaction to the dominance of Western approaches to the study of personality in non-Western settings (Cheung et al., 2011). Because Western-based personality assessments cannot fully capture the personality constructs of other cultures, the indigenous model has led to the development of personality assessment instruments that are based on constructs relevant to the culture being studied (Cheung et al., 2011). The third approach to cross-cultural studies of personality is the combined approach, which serves as a bridge between Western and indigenous psychology as a way of understanding both universal and cultural variations in personality (Cheung et al., 2011).

Summary

The culture in which you live is one of the most important environmental factors that shapes your personality. Western ideas about personality may not be applicable to other cultures. In fact, there is evidence that the strength of personality traits varies across cultures. Individualist cultures and collectivist cultures place emphasis on different basic values. People who live in individualist cultures tend to believe that independence, competition, and personal achievement are important. People who live in collectivist cultures value social harmony, respectfulness, and group needs over individual needs. There are three approaches that can be used to study personality in a cultural context: the cultural-comparative approach, the indigenous approach, and the combined approach, which incorporates both elements of both views.

Personal application questions

According to the work of Rentfrow and colleagues, personalities are not randomly distributed. Instead they fit into distinct geographic clusters. Based on where you live, do you agree or disagree with the traits associated with yourself and the residents of your area of the country? Why or why not?

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Questions & Answers

how to literally treat if the person had a psychological disorder.
Junalyn Reply
go.to a therapy?
am
variations in psychological attributes
Sweta Reply
what is the psych
Dhiraj Reply
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.
Angela
what is jpmr. what is its process
Dhiraj
the psych is the Greek meaning for soul,ology is to study
Roland
what is physical development during late childhood?
Sibani Reply
I don't understand the question
Edgar
what's a psy.d degree
Robin Reply
Psychology Doctorate. The main difference between PsyD and PhD Psychology is that PsyD mainly focuses on clinical sessions and PhD focuses on research.
Shrajan
so most of the phd holders become professors teaching what they have learnt
Bridget
Hi, I have a question. What factors influence social facilitation and social inhibition in groups?
Amritpal Reply
it really depends on that person on how the can task in life either they can work better with other people or you do worse working with people.
Lametra
the task
Lametra
they task
Lametra
Do you know of any studies done to show social facilitation and social inhibition
Amritpal
social facilitation is often influenced by the person's perception of the situation and their appraisal of the task. for example, a track athlete who views their competition as a challenge rather than a threat, will tend to run the fastest they have ever ran under a large crowd.
fady
Another condition is if the person has mastered the ability to perform that task. A track athlete who trains everyday, will perform above average under a large crowd, however, someone who does not run, will tend to do worse than their actual ability under a large crowd
fady
social inhibition can be explained through evolutionary biology or attachment personality theory. some people develop an avoidance personality trait, which when they feel under pressure, they tend to leave the group or avoid a gathering due to high lev of stress
fady
Does anyone know how I can transfer my higher national diploma credits in usa?
Qwanta Reply
Oh wow. I never realised there was a chat on this app!
Amritpal Reply
Then welcome dearest
Bridget
Thank you! ❤️
Amritpal
thank you
Ana
Hello Ana, good afternoon from here
Philip Reply
hello im new student here.
Junalyn Reply
o sorry madm
Rai
hello
Rai
I m also student.
Rai
hi
Kavya
what is easier option to psychology?
Dhanaraj
I'm new too
Deniz
As in the the specialisation or ?
Bridget
good morning
Ana
understanding human nature is what we are going to talk about.
Ana
okay, go ahead
Philip
“ Every child is left to evaluate his experiences for himself, and to take care of his own personal development outside the classroom. There is no tradition for the acquisition of a true knowledge of the human psyche. The science of human nature thus finds itself today in the position that chemis
Ana
well, I think every individual is different and to a great extent we can't say confidently that we understand the human nature in its entirety
Philip
lack determines what we will become in life?.
Ana
Not 100% but it plays a huge role
Philip
Hi! I wasn't aware there was a chat feature on this app 😊
Ophelia
👍Philip Anyaegbu
Ana
cool
Ana
👍
Ana
yes Ana I'm here
Philip
alternatively we are different, we have basic similar qualities
Bridget
Yes true Bridget.
Philip
hello there
Ciel
Hi
Philip
hi
Ej
hi
KUNDAN
hi
Ana
who we are how we think what we do insight
Ana
@ bridget. yes that's true
Ana
Ana ioanidis? do you speak Greek?
Qwanta
Qwanta no I dont speak Greek my husband does
Ana
are you a psychologist? or your husband?
Qwanta
I need some reliable informations about my studies...
Qwanta
not a psychologist
Ana
I ask questions
Ana
i wanna take psychology for college any advice?
am
so what is the cause why a person experiences a psychological disorder if it not of their own?
Junalyn Reply
it's partly genetics,culture, environment and substance abuse. generally these are the common factors which can lead to most of the disorders
war
waoo
Rai
r u proficcer
Rai
u r psychology subject
Rai
not a professor but a clinical psychologist
war
can i ask you, i keep getting headache, and had a history of hypothyroid ans diagnosed as having mild anxiety disorder. i want to finish. my undergraduate psychology thesis.. but always unable to have good ambition and energy to focus on writing the case and the theories... whats the best remedy
Astaroxche
had a headache and have a history
Ana
297 according to the DSM 5
fady
how many disorders are there
Janareon Reply
interesting question
Mahmoud
it is😅
Nelly
I'm guessing it's in the tens of thousands, maybe hundreds if you include counter interactions and stuff like it. although I'm sure it's almost impossible to know for sure, unless you're very rich and connected to the right people. but as I said: guessing.
Beenie
There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are: clinical depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal. that is what I think
Mahmoud
too difficult to number. diagnosing a disorder is just checking off boxes on a compilation of symptoms that might match any particular condition on the DSM
what is psychology of the guest
Lirilong Reply
I don't understand the question can you elaborate?
Edgar
the study of philosophy gives to the sociologist
Aman Reply
why women are viewed as far more emotional than men?
Wario Reply
because they actually are ,I guess.
Collins
May be they are biologically milder than man. It does not mean they are not equal with man. Man can also be emotional and can are oppressed with traditional norms. For example, man are not to be cry, in actual man are also emotional being and they cannot have the right to show their sentiment.
shine
sollungal bro sollungal...
Balaji
because of she has hormonal fluctuations than men..
bavi
usually women are more emotional than men and they are multi talented people
lavanya
Both men and women are capable of expressing emotions. But women has the highest percentage of doing that. Because our society is conditioned by nature in such a way that men are expected to suppress their emotions and motivate them through their acts or thoughts, which has it's side effects of....
Santos
denial of any emotion which they feel that useless at that point. Women in the other hand were encouraged/not controlled to suppress their emotions and let them out what they feel about it. I feel that's the wonderful superpower of the women.
Santos
y
Mahmoud
Men's emotion comes mostly with memories triggered by senses. That means, they thoughts have the power to decide whether to let go of emotions or not.
Santos
Q
Mark
because women tend to be more agreeable than men.
Edgar
women at a young age are conditioned to be more in tune with emotion than man should be less
David
The question is "Why women Viewed are as far more emotional than men ?" it's not a question whether women are more emotional than men. This is more an issue about the point of view from the observer, his/her assumption what emotional behavior is or what emotional behavior is.
Mehmet
The anwers are answers more to the question " Are women more emotional than men?"
Mehmet
i think both genders are very emotional but on the other hand males tend to try not to express their feelings maybe they're scared of being judged "men dont cry"
am
that's because,it's actually been proven that they are
victor
I'd say there are two flips. 1. The point of view of an observer; not everybody who doesn't shed tears every now and then is unemotional. It's just that they try to pretend (fear revealing their vulnerable side before others) 2. It's an individual case. Many humans, emotional, act strong.
Riya
that's how we have been cultured. Those who talk emotional and cry all the time, are weak is a common perception.
Riya
being a man or a woman can be a certification to follow some certain of behaviours in different cultures. like being emotional for women is generally accepted. it's a cultural certification to allow this behaviour. I think this is the general concept of this matter.
Hassan
also I think the fact of milking babies made women to stay at home more common. and they hade to interact with emotional babies. they learn how to cooperate this situation and it became a general culture for longtime.
Hassan
Mehmet, thank you for trying to get this conversation on track with clarifying the question.
Rebecca
I think the different emotions by women or men that are expressed by each are viewed by society in a different manner. example.... male politicians who yell and get angry aren't viewed as emotional, which in this world is often seen as weak, they are viewed as strong leaders who don't back down.
Rebecca
Women who yell in politics are viewed as shrill, emotional, and weak. I think this discrepancy is due to the majorly patriarchal/male dominated world. This is a way to keep women from leadership in any form. It is oppression of the matriarchy.
Rebecca
Women would not put up with the destruction of their children, their mates, the world. Women are primarily care takers. They have a different brain structure, than men. They have different hormones to help them bond with others, such as their children. That has a lot to do with why we procreate.
Rebecca
The views on why women are viewed as more emotional are more than one reason. We have a different make up of hormones and the different emotions we do express are viewed differently in society. This benefits the domination that men have in this world.
Rebecca
That women are MORE emotional is a made up construct to keep men in power.
Rebecca
I hope the two explanations I give, that basically say the same thing in a little different ways, makes sense. I would like to hear what you have say on all that! PEACE
Rebecca
very true answer Rebecca Little 👌👌
Labdhee
sorry. question mark has been typed by mistake.
Labdhee
I would totally disagree with that...I don't understand how or why you would feel like so. because one is more emotional than the other doesn't make them weaker or stronger it's simply pointing out characteristics of a individual. we must look at it as a women and men reason being that there is men
Edgar
out there that are far more emotional than women it's the majority I believe that women are at the higher end of the spectrum in terms of numbers
Edgar
I'm not sure that as been previously suggested that it's hormones, or motherhood. I look at it this way. Less than 50% of men with mental illness self advocate for themselves and get help. Most are raised with the ideology that they aren't supposed or even allowed to value characteristics that have
Keiko
been feminized over time, such as caring and empathy.
Keiko
I don't think that women being more emotional than men is feeding into men being more dominant, in fact if society was to use women being more emotional as a way of dominance over them, it would just backfire because men would struggle to speak on their emotions because it's seen as weak and feminin
Ameen-Ul
feminine
Ameen-Ul
and hence would then have worse mental health issues and would have higher suicide rates
Ameen-Ul
and that is what's happening currently
Ameen-Ul
this is in response to rebecca little
Ameen-Ul
I never said women were more emotional. women are perceived as more emotional and are oppressed for many reasons.
Rebecca
their empathy being just one of the reasons they are oppressed. yes. men are raised to suppress some of their emotions, but emotions like anger, feelings of superiority, and emotions on those ends are encouraged. I don't think emotions have been clarified in the question. there are many emotions!
Rebecca

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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