CHAPTER 5 The Perceptual Context Neuliep, Intercultural Communication, 6e. © SAGE Publications, 2015. Culture and Cognition People from different cultures think about different things… … but do higher mental processes, such as perception and remembering, differ across cultures? The Geography of Thought The ancient Greeks focused on: • linear methods of understanding • without much regard to context Confucian-driven Chinese philosophies emphasized: • • • • Fluctuation Holism Interdependence harmony Peoples from the East and West think differently because of the influence of philosophies from the ancient Greeks and Chinese Model of Human Information Processing 1 •Input/sensation 2 •Storage/memory 3 •Recall/retrieval Stage 1—Input/sensation Perception—the mental interpretation of external stimuli via sensation. Perceptual filters: Physiological—the senses Sociological—demographic information and group memberships Psychological—attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions 4 Explanations for Cross-Cultural Differences Conditions of the physical environment Indirect environmental conditions Genetic differences Cultural differences in the interaction with the environment • Carpentered-world hypothesis Stage 2—Storage/memory Shortterm memory 7 plus or minus Longterm memory Episodic— 2 unique experiences Lost to decay Semantic— conceptual information and knowledge Stage 3—Recall/retrieval Long-term memory may not be recalled due to: Interference Negative arousal (anxiety) Age Improper categorization Cross-Cultural Differences in Sensation and Perception Culture affects one’s ability to sense and perceive incoming information Once information has passed through the perceptual filters, it is processed into memory Once information has been stored, it is relatively useless unless it can be retrieved Categorization & Stereotyping Categorization— grouping, sorting, or classifying objects, events, or living things into identifiable groups or compartments. Stereotypes— membership in social categories that are believed to be associated with certain traits and behaviors. Cross-Cultural Differences in Memory and Retrieval Effects on information retrieval Other factors Culture Socialization Age Education Education Literacy Mental Economy To manage enormous quantities of information, we categorize. • People in all cultures do this. • Categorization involves classifying, sorting, or arranging information by similarities Categorization Categorization reduces uncertainty and increases accuracy of predictions about others In intercultural communication we face high levels of uncertainty and unfamiliar stimuli Stereotypes Categories that : • often carry a positive or negative evaluation • typically refer to membership in social categories • are part of a natural and universal information-processing strategy The difficulty arises when stereotypes carry a negative valence and are used to over- generalize negative traits Stereotyping is automatic whereas prejudice is a controlled process Stereotypes: Cultivation Theory Cultivation Theory • long-term exposure to media, especially TV, “cultivates” in viewers a perception of social reality that is reflective of the content on screen • The situations on TV become the social reality that viewers believe is correct, whether or not it is. The Stereotype Content Model (SCM) individuals’ social perceptions are based on the two judgments of (a) warmth and (b) competence These judgments stem from larger social structures, specifically competition and status Proposes that warmth and competence judgments elicit one of four unique emotional responses: • admiration, envy, contempt, or pity Root in competition for resources Illusory correlation principle Out-group homogeneity effect Stereotype Outcomes Self-fulfilling prophecies Stereotype threat Ethnocentrism The tendency to put one’s in-group in a position of centrality and worth while creating and reinforcing negative attitudes and behaviors toward out-groups. Ethnocentric attributional bias Ethnocentrism negatively influences intercultural communication. Ethnocentrism Continuum • Ethnocentrism is negatively and significantly correlated with perceptions of social attraction, competence, character, and hiring recommendations. Relationship of Ethnocentrism and Racism • Racism and ethnocentrism are not synonymous, but they are related • Unlikely to be racist and not ethnocentric. • Possible to be ethnocentric and not racist. • Ethnocentrism is considered innate. • Racism is considered learned.