Findings

Something about culture

Kevin Lewis

July 31, 2012

On the Cognitive Benefits of Cultural Experience: Exploring the Relationship between Studying Abroad and Creative Thinking

Christine Lee, David Therriault & Tracy Linderholm
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing from research that shows a positive relationship between multicultural experiences and creative cognition, the present study investigates creative thinking as a possible cognitive benefit gained from studying abroad. The domain generality and specificity of creative thinking is also explored. Undergraduate students completed a general measure and a culture specific measure of creative thinking. Performance on the two creative thinking tasks were compared between students who have studied abroad, students who are planning to study abroad, and students who have not and do not plan to study abroad. Results showed that students who studied abroad outperformed the two groups of students who did not study abroad on both the general and culture specific measures of creative thinking. Findings from this study provide evidence that studying abroad supports complex cognitive processes that underlie creative thinking in culture specific and domain general settings.

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Enjoying Life in the Face of Death: East-West Differences in Responses to Mortality Salience

Christine Ma-Kellams & Jim Blascovich
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Five experiments explored the hypothesis that thinking about one's own death activates thoughts about enjoying one's life as moderated by culture. Given that Eastern cultures, relative to Western ones, are more holistic and endorse notions of "yin and yang" (e.g., where "good" and "bad" coexist in all things), we hypothesized that East Asians would be more likely than European Americans to think about life and strive more to enjoy life when mortality salience (MS) is evoked. As predicted, MS led East Asians, but not European Americans, to (a) activate more life-related thoughts (Study 1); (b) express greater interest in enjoyable daily life activities (Study 2); and (c) report enjoying daily life activities more (Study 3). Cultural differences in holism mediated the tendency to enjoy life in the face of death (Study 4), and experimental induction of holism caused greater life enjoyment in response to MS (Study 5). Implications for terror management theory and culture are discussed.

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Social Media Censorship in Times of Political Unrest - A Social Simulation Experiment with the UK Riots

Antonio Casilli & Paola Tubaro
Bulletin of Sociological Methodology, July 2012, Pages 5-20

Abstract:
Following the 2011 wave of political unrest, extending from the Arab Spring to the UK riots, the formation of a large consensus around Internet censorship is underway. The present paper adopts a social simulation approach to show that the decision to "regulate", filter or censor social media in situations of unrest changes the pattern of civil protest and ultimately results in higher levels of violence. Building on Epstein's (2002) agent-based model, several alternative scenarios are generated. The systemic optimum, represented by complete absence of censorship, not only corresponds to lower levels of violence over time, but allows for significant periods of social peace after each outburst.

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Vote Trafficking in Lebanon

Daniel Corstange
International Journal of Middle East Studies, August 2012, Pages 483-505

Abstract:
Vote buying and vote selling are prominent features of electoral politics in Lebanon. This article investigates how vote trafficking works in Lebanese elections and examines how electoral rules and practices contribute to wide and lively vote markets. Using original survey data from the 2009 parliamentary elections, it studies vote selling with a list experiment, a question technique designed to elicit truthful answers to sensitive questions. The data show that over half of the Lebanese sold their votes in 2009. Moreover, once we come to grips with the sensitivity of the topic, the data show that members of all sectarian communities and political alliances sold their votes at similar rates.

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The price of Cherokee removal

Matthew Gregg & David Wishart
Explorations in Economic History, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, we estimate the social costs and income transfers of Cherokee removal, i.e., "The Trail of Tears." Our cost estimates provide several new insights into this extensively studied topic. First, our estimate of the number of removal-related fatalities is considerably lower than the commonly accepted figure of 4,000. Second, the uncompensated value of ceded Cherokee land in the southeast was the largest cost borne by the Cherokees, followed in magnitude by the value of lost agricultural output due to removal. Third, American taxpayers paid for roughly 44 percent of the total social costs of removal. Also, the cost burden of Cherokee removal, as a share of one year's GDP, was greater for the Cherokees than the cost burden of any major war for the American population.

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Are composers different? Historical evidence on conflict-induced migration (1816-1997)

Karol Jan Borowiecki
European Review of Economic History, August 2012, Pages 270-291

Abstract:
In this paper, we explore whether, and to what extent, the incidence of war affects the migration intensity of 164 prominent classical composers born after 1800. We model the aggregate stock of composers in a country and find that periods of war correspond negatively with the number of artists. We also find that conflict-induced migration intensity is considerably higher for composers than for the overall population and demonstrate that the share of composers in the overall population drops due to the incidence of war. We further find that the observed outmigration substantially diminishes the country's creative potential in the long run.

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Not All Collectivisms Are Equal: Opposing Preferences for Ideal Affect Between East Asians and Mexicans

Matthew Ruby et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has revealed differences in how people value and pursue positive affect in individualistic and collectivistic cultural contexts. Whereas Euro-Americans place greater value on high activation positive affect (HAP; e.g., excitement, enthusiasm, elation) than do Asian Americans and Hong Kong Chinese, the opposite is true for low activation positive affect (LAP; e.g., calmness, serenity, tranquility). Although the form of collectivism present in East Asia dictates that individuals control and subdue their emotional expressions so as to maintain harmonious relationships, the opposite norm emerges in Mexico and other Latin American countries, in that the cultural script of simpatía promotes harmony through the open and vibrant expression of positive emotion. Across two studies, we found that Mexicans display a pattern of HAP/LAP preference different from those from East Asian collectivistic cultures, endorsing HAP over LAP.

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Soviet power plus electrification: What is the long-run legacy of communism?

Wendy Carlin, Mark Schaffer & Paul Seabright
Explorations in Economic History, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two decades after the end of central planning, we investigate the extent to which the advantages bequeathed by planning in terms of high investment in physical infrastructure and human capital compensated for the costs in allocative inefficiency and weak incentives for innovation. We assemble and analyse three separate types of evidence. First, we find that countries that were initially relatively poor prior to planning benefited more, as measured by long-run GDP per capita levels, from infrastructure and human capital than they suffered from weak market incentives. For initially relatively rich countries the opposite is true. Second, using various measures of physical stocks of infrastructure and human capital we show that at the end of planning, formerly planned countries had substantially different endowments from their contemporaneous market economy counterparts. However, these differences were much more important for poor than for rich countries. Finally, we use firm-level data to measure the cost of a wide range of constraints on firm performance, and we show that after more than a decade of transition in 2002-05, poor ex-planned economies differ much more from their market counterparts, in respect to both good and bad aspects of the planning legacy, than do relatively rich ones. However, the persistent beneficial legacy effects disappeared under the pressure of strong growth in the formerly planned economies in the run-up to the global financial crisis.

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Waving the Flag (or Not): Consequences and Antecedents of Social Norms About In-group Identification

Johanna Peetz & Anne Wilson
Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research suggests that people identify with positively evaluated groups. However, some in-groups may be evaluated highly yet identification may be hampered by social norms prohibiting in-group pride. Social norms may stem in part from in-group history. In Study 1, Germans rated their nation more highly on quality-of-life dimensions, yet identified with their country less than Americans. Social norms about the perceived appropriateness of in-group pride mediated differences in cross-national identification (Study 2). Moreover, people high in conformity were most strongly influenced by social norms about national pride. One antecedent of national pride norms was the perceived in-group's history: Focus on positive historical events increased the perception of national identification as appropriate, compared to a focus on negative historical events (Study 3).

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Renaissance attachment to things: Material culture in last wills and testaments

Samuel Cohn
Economic History Review, August 2012, Pages 984-1004

Abstract:
Over the past decade ‘material culture' has become a sub-discipline of Italian Renaissance studies. This literature, however, has focused on the rich and their objects preserved in museums or reflected in paintings. In addition, the period 1300 to 1600 has been treated without attention to changes in the relationship between people and possessions. The article turns to last wills and testaments, which survive in great numbers and sink deep roots through late medieval and Renaissance cities and their hinterlands. They reveal aspirations and anxieties about things from post-mortem repairs to farm houses to pillows of monk's wool. These aspirations changed fundamentally after the Black Death. Earlier, during the ‘commercial revolution', ordinary merchants, artisans, and peasants on their deathbeds practised what the mendicants preached: stripping themselves of their possessions, they converted their estates to coin to be scattered among pious and non-pious beneficiaries. After the Black Death, testators began to reverse tack, devising ever more complex legal strategies to govern the future flow of their goods. This work of the dead had larger economic consequences. By encouraging the liquidation of estates, the earlier mendicant ideology quickened the velocity of exchange, while the early Renaissance attachment to things did the opposite.

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Pre-colonial Ethnic Institutions and Contemporary African Development

Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou
NBER Working Paper, July 2012

Abstract:
We investigate the role of deeply-rooted pre-colonial ethnic institutions in shaping comparative regional development within African countries. We combine information on the spatial distribution of ethnicities before colonization with regional variation in contemporary economic performance, as proxied by satellite images of light density at night. We document a strong association between pre-colonial ethnic political centralization and regional development. This pattern is not driven by differences in local geographic features or by other observable ethnic-specific cultural and economic variables. The strong positive association between pre-colonial political complexity and contemporary development obtains also within pairs of adjacent ethnic homelands with different legacies of pre-colonial political institutions.

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"I" Value Competence but "We" Value Social Competence: The Moderating Role of Voters' Individualistic and Collectivistic Orientation in Political Elections

Fang Fang Chen, Yiming Jing & Jeong Min Lee
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This investigation distinguishes interpersonally oriented social competence from intrapersonally oriented competence. It examines the influence of voters' individualism and collectivism orientation in affecting the roles of these two dimensions in predicting electoral outcomes. Participants made judgments of personality traits based on inferences from faces of political candidates in the U.S. and Taiwan. Two social outcomes were examined: actual election results and voting support of the participants. With respect to actual electoral success, perceived competence was more important for the candidates in the U.S. than for those in Taiwan, whereas perceived social competence was more important for the candidates in Taiwan than for those in the U.S. For the subjective voting support, within cultural findings mirror those found cross-culturally. Competence is valued more among voters who are more individualistic, and social competence is valued more among voters who are more collectivistic. These results highlight important omissions in the social perception/judgment literature.

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Cultural and Ideological Roots of Materialism in China

Song Yang & Bruce Stening
Social Indicators Research, September 2012, Pages 441-452

Abstract:
This study examines the role of cultural values and political ideologies in the development of materialism, and the impact of materialism on subjective well-being, in the Chinese context. A survey was conducted of 487 persons in two cities in China and the results analyzed using structural equation modeling. The findings show that China's pragmatic version of socialist ideology and certain dimensions of Chinese cultural values influence the growth of materialism. In turn, materialism associates negatively with subjective well-being. The findings both provide new empirical evidence to support previous research results and expand understanding of the basis for materialism in China. The paper discusses a number of important public policy questions arising from the results.

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Mai dongxi: Social influence, materialism and China's one-child policy

Yoshiko DeMotta, Kritika Kongsompong & Sankar Sen
Social Influence, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the moderating role of the China's one-child policy on the relationship between susceptibility to social influence from parents and peers and the levels of materialism of consumers. By comparing Chinese consumers who were born after the implementation of the one-child policy with their Indian and Thai counterparts, our study finds that the previously documented positive relationship between peer influence and materialism as well as the negative relationship between parental influence and materialism are greater for consumers from China than those from India and Thailand. We theorize that these differences are due to the ability and motivation of only-children to internalize the materialistic values from their parents and peers. Further, we demonstrate that these differences in social influence are restricted to in-group influences (i.e., parents and peers) and do not manifest in the case of out-group influences (e.g., salespeople).

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Five thousand years of atmospheric Ni, Zn, As, and Cd deposition recorded in bogs from NW Iberia: Prehistoric and historic anthropogenic contributions

Xabier Pontevedra-Pombal et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The analysis of environmental archives from across the world has demonstrated that human perturbation of the geochemical cycles of trace metals and the resultant atmospheric metal contamination date back, at least, several millennia. However, an understanding of the local processes and timing of changes in trace metal deposition is also essential for a proper global interpretation. The Iberian Peninsula was a major mining area since prehistoric times and the analysis of environmental archives provides a good opportunity to improve our understanding of the history of mining and metallurgy in Europe. We present the results from three 14C dated peat cores from the Xistral Mountains (NW Iberia). These records are used to reconstruct past atmospheric deposition of Ni, Zn, As, and Cd. The chronology of the changes in concentrations and metal accumulation rates was found to be concordant in the three bogs, and showed great similarity to total Pb, Hg, and Pb isotope ratios as determined in previous investigations. They present a consistent view of changes in atmospheric pollution and the importance of metals in the development of human societies, especially: i) the first evidence of atmospheric metal pollution 3400 years ago, which is simultaneous with the expansion of the Atlantic Bronze Koine; ii) a pollution event between 2350 and 2150 years ago, associated to the development of so-called Celtic culture (local Late Iron Age); iii) a dramatic increase of metal fluxes in Roman times; iv) a severe and rapid increase in the last 250 years corresponding to the beginning of the industrial revolution in Europe, reflecting the emergence of the new dominant sources of pollution, and v) the increase of long range atmospheric transport of pollutants. Our data suggest that all detected ancient (until ca. 1450 cal. BP) periods of enhanced Ni, Zn, As, and Cd accumulation may have had an anthropogenic origin, related to the onset and development of mining and metallurgy.

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Early Pottery at 20,000 Years Ago in Xianrendong Cave, China

Xiaohong Wu et al.
Science, 29 June 2012, Pages 1696-1700

Abstract:
The invention of pottery introduced fundamental shifts in human subsistence practices and sociosymbolic behaviors. Here, we describe the dating of the early pottery from Xianrendong Cave, Jiangxi Province, China, and the micromorphology of the stratigraphic contexts of the pottery sherds and radiocarbon samples. The radiocarbon ages of the archaeological contexts of the earliest sherds are 20,000 to 19,000 calendar years before the present, 2000 to 3000 years older than other pottery found in East Asia and elsewhere. The occupations in the cave demonstrate that pottery was produced by mobile foragers who hunted and gathered during the Late Glacial Maximum. These vessels may have served as cooking devices. The early date shows that pottery was first made and used 10 millennia or more before the emergence of agriculture.

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Canadian and American Voting Strategies: Does Institutional Socialization Matter?

Jason Roy & Shane Singh
Canadian Journal of Political Science, June 2012, Pages 289-312

Abstract:
This paper uses data from an online voting experiment to examine the impact of institutional socialization on the vote decision process. More specifically, we examine how Canadian and American voters differ in their vote decision processes in two- and four-party elections. Our expectation is that Canadian voters, who are more familiar with multiparty electoral context, will adjust to the increased complexity of the four-party competition by engaging in a more detailed decision process. Alternatively, we expect US voters, who are less familiar with multiparty competitions, will not undertake such an adjustment, perhaps even engaging in a less detailed vote calculus under more complex conditions. Results lend support to our expectations, offering insight into how institutional design and socialization can affect voter decision processes.

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Globally Happy: Individual Globalization, Expanded Capacities, and Subjective Wellbeing

Ming-Chang Tsai, Heng-Hao Chang & Wan-chi Chen
Social Indicators Research, September 2012, Pages 509-524

Abstract:
Deep integration of Asia into the global society necessarily affects wellbeing of local populations. This study proposes a notion of "extend capacities" to explain the relationships between individual globalization and subjective wellbeing among Asian populations in a context of increasing global integration. Using Amartya Sen's theory of human capacities as a point of departure, we advance a distinctive list of expanded capacities, which includes English ability, global exposure and foreign contacts via jobs. Empirical findings from our multilevel analysis of a large sample from 14 Asian countries show the consistent impact of mastering a global lingua franca on job satisfaction, perceived life accomplishment, and happiness. Global exposure also generates some favorable influences.

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It is our destiny to die: The effects of mortality salience and culture-priming on fatalism and karma belief

Chih-Long Yen
International Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study explores whether Asians use culture-specific belief systems to defend against their death anxiety. The effects of mortality salience (MS) and cultural priming on Taiwanese beliefs in fatalism and karma were investigated. Study 1 showed that people believe in fatalism and karma more following MS compared with the control condition. Study 2 found that the effect of MS on fatalism belief was stronger when Taiwanese were exposed to an Eastern cultural context than to a Western cultural context. However, a matched sample of Western participants did not show increased fatalism belief after either a West- or East-prime task. The present research provides evidence that Asians may use some culture-specific beliefs, particularly fatalism belief, to cope with their death awareness.


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