Cultural Conditioning: Understanding Interpersonal Accommodation in India and the U.S. In Terms of the Modal Characteristics of Interpersonal Influence Situations
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Forthcoming
68 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2010
Date Written: July 9, 2010
We argue that differences between the landscapes of influence situations in Indian and American societies induce Indians to accommodate to others more often than Americans. To investigate cultural differences in situation-scapes, we sampled interpersonal influence situations occurring in India and the U.S., both from the influencee’s (Study 1) and the influencer’s (Study 2) perspectives. We found that Indian influence situations were dramatically more likely than U.S. situations to feature other-serving motives and to result in positive consequences for the relationship. Yet Study 3 found that targets of influence felt no less free to decide whether to accommodate in India than the U.S., but felt more concerned about the influencer. To investigate the effects of situation-scapes on people’s expectations and decisions, we exposed Indian and American participants to descriptions of situations from both societies (with their origins obscured). Study 4 found that both groups of participants expected more positive consequences from accommodation in Indian situations than in American situations. Finally, Study 5 found that both groups decided to accommodate more often in Indian situations than in American situations. At the same time, Indian participants were more likely than Americans to accommodate across all situations, but the two groups converged over 100 trials as they were exposed to more and more situations drawn from each others’ cultures. We interpret these effects in terms of the default decisions or biases conditioned by people’s recently encountered situations.
Keywords: Culture, Conditioning, Influence, Accommodation, Decision Making, Negotiations, Sitautions
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