Saturday, July 04, 2009

Helping, Tolerating, Affect

Two very interesting studies. The stereotype is that senior women in academics can sometimes be very hard on junior women, and the stereotype is also that girls in middle school can be very hard on each other. I wonder about how the manipulations were actually managed in the Psych Science paper.

And, the other study resonates with my experience here in Franconia, in Germany. It is a very embedded culture, compared with the rest of Germany. You don't talk to people unless you have been introduced. And you would never impose on them unless you know them well. But on the other hand friendship is perhaps more important, and less superficial, here in Franconia than it is in the U.S. Not better or worse, just different.

Males' Greater Tolerance of Same-Sex Peers

Joyce Benenson, Henry Markovits, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Diana Geoffroy, Julianne Flemming, Sonya Kahlenberg & Richard Wrangham Psychological Science, February 2009, Pages 184-190

Abstract: Three studies were conducted to examine the often-cited conclusion that human females are more sociable than males. Using perceptions of roommates, roommate changes at three collegiate institutions, and an experimental manipulation of friendship beliefs, the studies demonstrated unequivocally that males exhibit a higher threshold of tolerance for genetically unrelated same-sex individuals than females do. Tolerance was defined as acceptance of the stresses and strains within relationships. Results are discussed in terms of potential underlying mechanisms and ultimate explanations.

Helping Strangers Is Lower in Embedded Cultures

Ariel Knafo, Shalom Schwartz & Robert Levine Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract: The embeddedness cultural value orientation regards the extended in-group, not the individual, as the key social unit. Embedded cultures focus on the welfare of the in-group, limiting concern for outsiders’ well-being. Therefore, the authors hypothesized that people in high-embeddedness cultures are less helpful to strangers in need. They related countries’ embeddedness scores to rates of helping strangers in three field experiments across 21 countries. Large cross-national differences in helping strangers related strongly and negatively to cultural embeddedness in subsets of wealthy and developing countries. This suggests that prevailing cultural values affect the way people relate to needy others outside their in-group.

(Nod to Kevin L)

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