European Americans are more likely than Asian-Americans to judge an individual’s personality based on behaviors, such as presuming someone who, say, won’t touch a door handle is neurotic, a new study suggests.
The key is cultural, according to the researchers. European American culture emphasizes individual independence; meanwhile, Asian culture is more interdependent and more sensitive to social contexts. This difference means European Americans are inclined to account for someone’s behavior by making assumptions about their personality, while Asians are not (at least not without some context), according to the researchers.
“Culture can be very important in shaping some fundamental aspects of the human mind,” said study researcher Shinobu Kitayama, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. “This study is one example of a demonstration that culture can influence what appears to be a very deep part the human mind, something that happens automatically and continuously.”
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