Workshop “Culture as Situated Cognition”

The workshop will be held by Daphna Oyserman at the University of Mannheim, Germany.

Abstract by Daphna Oyserman

“An increasingly large number of studies suggest cross-national
differences in cognitive processes that seem to suggest that people from
difference societies think differently. How are these results to be
interpreted? One possibility is that cultural syndromes are based in
distal cultural features such as philosophy, religion, or language and
that these features have direct current consequences for values,
relationality, self-concept, well-being and cognition. While initially
plausible and certainly congruent with some approaches to cross-cultural
difference, a number of studies suggest that ‘distal’ features such as a
society’s philosophical tradition do not have a direct effect in and of
themselves but rather have an effect by making certain subjective
construals more likely than others. Taken together, these results
suggest that small and seemingly incidental features of the situation
can cue different cultural syndromes and that once cued, a cultural
syndrome will influence what content and process knowledge seems
relevant to the task at hand. This simply would not be predicted by
models focused on the predictive power of cross-societal differences in
distal features because cross-societal comparisons imply stable
between-group differences rather than situational malleability both
within and between groups. At first glance, the idea that both an
individualistic and a collectivistic cultural syndrome can be cued
within a society may feel contradictory to a ‘societal-level’
understanding of a society’s culture as either high in individualism (or
necessarily low in collectivism) or high in collectivism (and
necessarily low in individualism). However, I will demonstrate that this
first glance assumption is unlikely to be correct and that all societies
can be better considered as including multiple cultural syndromes that
are differentially likely to be cued.”

By | 2017-06-14T20:44:01+00:00 June 19th, 2008|Dates|