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Honor as a cultural mindset: Effects on cognition, emotions, and behavior in children and adults


Culture influences how people think, feel, and perceive the world around them. Two cultural axes, individualism and collectivism, have been well researched, primarily by contrasting East Asians and Westerners. Building on my previous research, I propose to examine a third and mostly neglected cultural axis, honor. Evidence of chronic accessibility of honor is most easily seen in Middle Eastern, North African and Latin cultures. Rather than focus on between-group comparisons, I propose to use the Culture as Situated Cognition (CSC) Model to study when and how honor matters. The CSC Model has previously been used successfully to demonstrate that features of the environment can subtly cue both individualistic and collectivistic cultural mindsets, with downstream consequences for affect, behavior, and cognition. I will articulate honor as a cultural mindset and examine its downstream consequences for affect, behavior, and cognition.
I will do so using both lab experiments with college students and in field experiments with school children. In each case, I will use both between-group comparison (Arab American, European American) and priming techniques. By triangulating across methods, I will be able to both test prior assumptions about what honor is and how it is similar to and different from individualism and collectivism, and to move beyond documenting differences by developing methods to prime honor. I will ask how honor can be cued in the lab, just as it is cued in everyday life. Dependent variables will focus on the three critical domains of childhood: academics, social, and emotional functioning.
My project is highly relevant to the Work Programme in three ways, it is: i) multidisciplinary, ii) provides me with excellent training which will significantly advance my future career, and iii) highly beneficial for Europe in terms of international collaborations, competitiveness, and insight into processes underlying functioning of Arab immigrants in Western societies

Call for proposal

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Heidelberglaan 8
3584 CS Utrecht

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Kees Van Den Bos (Prof.)
EU contribution
€ 274 889,10