Actions and Personality, East and West

PhysOrg, April 11, 2011

People in different cultures make different assumptions about the people around them, according to an upcoming study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The researchers studied the brain waves of people with Caucasian and Asian backgrounds and found that cultural differences in how we think about other people are embedded deep in our minds. Cultural differences are evident very deep in the brain, challenging a commonsense notion that culture is skin deep.

For decades, psychologists believed that it’s natural for humans to see behaviors and automatically link them to personality. “For example, when you see somebody giving a seat to an old man in a train, you might jump to the conclusion that that person is very nice and kind,” says Shinobu Kitayama, of the University of Michigan. He co wrote the new study with Jinkyung Na. “But the behavior may be motivated by some other things. For example, maybe his boss at work may be in that same train, or there might be very strong social norms “that led to the younger man giving up his seat.

{snip}

In their study, they [Kitayama and Na] had European-American and Asian-American students do an exercise in which they were told to memorize faces and behaviors. For example, they might see a woman’s face and read that Julie checks the fire alarms every night before bed. In a second phase of the experiment, the researchers found evidence that European-Americans had made an inference about Julie’s personality during the first memory task, while Asian-Americans had not.

One way they did this was actually measuring participants’ brain wave patterns. For example, if a European-American had seen the information above and later was shown Julie’s face, immediately followed by personality traits, such as courageous or brave, that clearly go against the traits implied by her behavior, a particular flash of brain activity would happen within a split second, demonstrating “surprise.” But in Asian-Americans, such a brain activity didn’t happen because they hadn’t assumed from Julie’s behavior that she was cautious or neurotic.

This shows that there are real cultural differences in how people perceive others, Kitayama says. “It isn’t just a matter of intentional deliberate effort, but the immediate response to somebody’s behavior appears to be very different.”

“We often feel that culture is like clothes; you strip them off, and we are all humans,” Kitayama says. “There’s some truth to that, but studies like this begin to demonstrate that culture can go much deeper. What appears to be a natural being, or a human mind, may be culturally shaped or formed.”

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  • John Engelman

    On average, Orientals are slower to mature, less fertile, and less sexually active, have larger brains and higher IQ scores…

    the United States, where Orientals are a “model minority.”

    They have fewer divorces, fewer out-of-wedlock births, and fewer reports of child abuse than Whites. More Orientals graduate from college and fewer go to prison…

    INTERPOL Yearbooks show the rate of violent crime (murder, rape, and serious assault) is four times lower in Asian and Pacific

    Rim countries than in African and Caribbean countries…

    Orientals are the least sexually active, whether measured by age of first intercourse, intercourse frequency, or number of sexual partners…

    Orientals in Asia and the U.S. tend to have higher scores, about

    106, even though IQ tests were made for use in the Euro-American culture.

    – Professor J. Philippe Rushton, from RACE, EVOLUTION, AND BEHAVIOR

    http://www.charlesdarwinresearch.org/Race_Evolution_Behavior.pdf

  • Anonymous

    Culture follows race. Change the race of the people and you will change the culture. This can be seen in a neighborhood, city, or nation. Behavior and social norms stem from race.

    Only pc types cannot see it and continue to study culture as though it is entirely disconnected to race. And they are perpetually surpised when they find traits in one race not present in another race.

    The answer then is study it some more at taxpayers expense.

  • olewhitelady

    Why would anyone assume that a woman isn’t brave who checks the smoke alarms every night? Would it be courageous to chance injury or death from a fire because of a faulty or turned-off alarm? She might simply be officious or cautious. And I’ve never heard anyone refer to a smoke alarm as a “fire alarm” as did this author–whose name I’ve been unable to uncover. I think he/she must be Asian.

  • highduke

    Does the example given in this article imply Caucasians are naive compared to Mongoloids?

  • Anonymous

    There are real differences between whites and Orientals and they are more obvious in large crowds. Many Chinese often behave rudely and will bump right into you.

  • SoCal Local

    “The commonsense notion that culture is skin deep”? I didn’t sign on to that. Is it commonsense to attribute skin color or eye shape to cultural difference? No, not even in academia. This must be purely wishful thinking on the reporter’s part. He must be bothered by the ever growing body of medical evidence refuting America’s post-sixties religion: The social equality of all.

  • Anonymous

    I think this article misses the obvious point that Asians are, on average, cautious or neurotic, and thus wouldn’t notice anything unusual about that behaviour. Also Asians would only have a relative concept of bravery compared to the bravery of their fellow Asians.

    They are selling this as westerners leaping to conclusions, but they haven’t demonstrated that.

  • Diversity = Adversity

    Well, for the particular case of “Julie”, I would assume she is smart to check her fire alarms before bed; and when I would have seen “brave” by her face I would wonder if she were a firefighter. (I volunteer at my local fire dept. when I can. checking the fire alarms is a good idea.)

    Anyway, as for the premise of the study its common sense to most people (on Amren anyway) that culture is at least in part genetically motivated.

    Sooner or later scientists will not be able to ignore all the evidence for race and genetics, and the government will start force feeding us “tolerance” pills.

    Start stocking up on the oxytocin nasal spray!

  • Anonymous

    We are supposed to believe East Asians don’t make judgements about people’s actions. Give me a break. This research is as reliable as Hwang Woo-suk’s, the Korean who FAKED stem cell research to international fame. The research is a passive-aggressive way of saying white people are innately prejudiced while East Asians are open-minded, which is 100% false. In Japan, there is a 99% conviction rate of foreigners accused of crimes, most are unjust. The media throughout East Asia libels English teachers as drug-users, predators, stupid, wild etc. with false report after false report. East Asians are the first to make judgements.

  • hoosier

    “On average, Orientals are slower to mature, less fertile, and less sexually active, have larger brains and higher IQ scores…

    “Orientals in Asia and the U.S. tend to have higher scores, about 106, even though IQ tests were made for use in the Euro-American culture.”

    Sorry, old man, but Little League baseball revealed to all of us that whites are slower to mature than Asians, so you’re not right on that. And regarding “Orientals,” did you know that you’re including all the Oriental inhabitants, which, if taken together as an average like the white average, is about 94? I believe you misreported China’s national average at one time as over 100 when it is not. It is the same as US whites, which is 100.

    Murray and Hernstein’s Bell Curve shows the American Northeast Asian I.Q. to be 103, not 106. That does not include Fillipinos, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Hmong, etc., all of whom are broadly considered “Orientals,” just as all whites are considered “Caucasians.”

    Too, you never mentioned that whites have been tremendously more successful for centuries than northeast Asians. Why not? Can’t stand to say something good about whites can you?

    Although I.Q. tests are a most valuable tool, there’s more to intelligence that isn’t being factored in, especially between two groups where the difference is only two or three points as a group average. Bray all you want, but you can’t argue with white success, which is a true measure of a people.

    “They have fewer divorces, fewer out-of-wedlock births, and fewer reports of child abuse than Whites. More Orientals graduate from college and fewer go to prison…”

    Yes, those are all true, but they’re are all due to their homogeneous society and their conservative stances on most everything, including study habits and maintaining a good work ethic, things this country’s white population had at one time, but no more since it has deteriorated so badly into a liberal airhead point of view, which you so soundly embrace.

    “INTERPOL Yearbooks show the rate of violent crime (murder, rape, and serious assault) is four times lower in Asian and Pacific Rim countries than in African and Caribbean countries…”

    Asia, yes. And again because of the homogeneity factor and the conservatism. In other words the more a nation of people departs from your philosophy the better they do. But why not mention that the white crime rate is also MUCH lower than those black places too?

    “Orientals are the least sexually active, whether measured by age of first intercourse, intercourse frequency, or number of sexual partners…”

    Yes, a billion and a half people reveals how low the Asian sex drive is, doesn’t it?

    You know I’m sick and tired of reading your exaggerations and anti-white propaganda, especially since it’s obvious you have some ulterior motive for writing the things you do. So much of what you purport to be “facts” are no more than obvious drivel.

  • Anonymous

    The “model minority” is as dangerous to Whites as are liberal Whites, blacks, hispanics and neo-conservatives.

    Chicagotribune.com

    1,700 counterfeit driver’s licenses seized at O’Hare

    Staff report

    April 14, 2011

    Customs agents at O’Hare International Airport have seized more than 1,700 “high quality” counterfeit driver’s licenses that have been shipped from China this year.

    The licenses were for the states of Illinois, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Most of them were addressed to college students and were apparently ordered online.

    “Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are conducting investigations regarding some of the intended recipients,” Customs officials said. “Our greatest concern is the ease at which these high quality fakes can be ordered over the Internet.”

    In some cases, the counterfeit licenses were shipped in envelopes, in others they were hidden inside shipments of electronic and gift items, the department said.

  • John Engelman

    10 — hoosier wrote at 4:42 PM on April 13:

    You know I’m sick and tired of reading your exaggerations and anti-white propaganda, especially since it’s obvious you have some ulterior motive for writing the things you do. So much of what you purport to be “facts” are no more than obvious drivel.

    ——-

    With no additional commentary of my own I quoted Professor J. Philippe Rushton. He has spoken at American Renaissance conferences, and contributed articles to the magazine.

    Because this is a sore point with you, I am also going to quote Jared Taylor, who is the editor of American Renaissance. This comes from his essay “The Color of Crime.” I recommend you read it.

    ——

    Asians commit violent crimes at about one quarter the white rate…

    High arrest and incarceration rates for blacks and Hispanics—and very low rates for Asians—reflect differences in crime rates, not police or justice system bias. . .

    In total, blacks had the highest incarceration rate at 7.2 times the white rate, followed by Hispanics, at 2.9 times the white rate. Indians and Pacific Islanders were imprisoned at about

    twice the white rate, and Asians at only 22 percent of the white rate. . .

    Blacks are about eight times more likely than whites to commit murder, and 25 times more likely than Asians to do so. Blacks are 15 times more likely than whites to go to prison for robbery,

    and 50 times more likely than Asians. . .

    Hispanics are one of the more crime prone groups in America. They also have high rates of illegitimacy, school failure, poverty, welfare use, and teen pregnancy. Asians are lowest in all these categories.

    http://www.colorofcrime.com/colorofcrime2005.pdf

  • Ulysses O

    From my own impressions of East Asians, I would say that it may not be that they are not making inferences, as much as that they simply don’t care much if its someone they don’t know, so aren’t registering much of anything. Maybe its the fact that their populations are so much more dense. I wonder if you compared, say New York City natives vs. Shanghai natives, you would find less difference. As one who lived in China for a while, its pretty clear that the degree of compassion for others more sharply drops off in native East Asians as one gets outside of their family and close friends, than what is typical for the average US citizen. All the more reason to oppose illegal immigration and put stronger limits on legal immigration, to limit population growth here.