Culture and the Cognitive and Neuroendocrine Responses to Speech

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Abstract

The present research investigated cultural differences in the psychological and biological effects of verbalization of thoughts. Three studies tested how verbalization of thoughts requires a different amount of effort for people from cultures with different assumptions about speech and examined implications for the cognitive performance and stress hormone response to the task. The results showed that verbalization impaired East Asians/East Asian Americans' performance when the task was difficult but not when the task was easy, whereas the effect of verbalization on European Americans' performance was neutral or positive regardless of task difficulty. Moreover, verbalization decreased the level of cortisol response to the task among European Americans but not among East Asian Americans. The results demonstrate how the same act that is intended to create the same psychological experience could inadvertently lead to systematically different psychological experiences for people from different cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-47
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume94
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Keywords

  • cognition
  • culture
  • speech
  • stress and cortisol

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