Culture can be defined as the customs, ideas, and social behaviors associated with a specific type of people in society at large. In the contemporary world, culture has been known to be very influential in the understanding of psychology or even influencing consumers buying decisions in terms of business. As such, it is crucial to comprehend the cultures of different people if success in the psychological and business fields is required. Differences stemming from culture are apparent amongst groups of people within society. One characteristic of culture is that it can be passed from one generation to another in terms of their language, values, and beliefs (Dustman, 2015). Due to this, people should always try to respect the culture of their fellow peers instead of criticizing them for it. This paper, therefore, focuses on shedding light on the differences, in terms of psychological functioning, between the American and the Chinese cultures.
The psychological functioning aspect of the cultures includes behavior, social skills, emotions, and the overall mental health of the people within a particular culture (Breidlid, 2008). As a result of these features, differences between the American and the Chinese cultures can be addressed by parenting styles, gender roles apparent in each culture, self-perception, culturally specific disorders, the family structure, moral reasoning, amongst others that will be discussed in this paper.
Different parenting styles have been adopted in the modern world. For instance, there include three types of parenting styles apparent in every culture today. They include authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative parenting styles (Duhig, 2017). Permissive parenting is the emblem of American parenting since Americans believe and encourage self-expression and freedom. However, authoritarian parenting is the most applied type of parenting in China (Kretschmer, 1994). In light of this, it is evident that the cultural distinction principle in the parenting styles between these two widely popularized cultures is the interdependence and freedom theory.
Regarding self-sufficiency, Americans are always concerned by the ability of children to develop a "sense of self." The latter is in direct violation of the Chinese parenting style, which is embodied by interdependence and community harmony. As such, parenting in China is authoritarian, where the parents will always try to define what their children should do, despite their views or opinions.
At a later stage in the development of a child, authoritarian types of parents usually face difficulties in raising, or rather controlling their children, since they want to develop self-dependence and formulate their own decision without the influence of others. Chinese parenting emphasizes on the society being considered as a unit (Duhig, 2017). As such, obedience is considered key, and it plays a very vital role in ensuring a child obtains a position in the family. The children are also expected to obey and show reverence regarding the authority set up in the country. Similarly, American parents foster obedience to the relevant authorities in the country but enforce self-sufficiency, as discussed earlier in the paper.
Gender roles are usually the range of attitudes and behaviors, which are appropriate, acceptable, and desirable to people in society based on perceived sex. Across different cultures, women and men have different roles. Gender equity is usually affected by different cultures regarding the roles that have been assigned to biological and perceived sex. The same is observed in Americans and Chinese cultures. The social and gender roles theory has defined that gender roles are determined by the environment that children are raised in, hence the difference in gender roles between different societies. Drastic changes have been witnessed concerning gender roles in the United States of America. For instance, men were the emblem of control and generating income to a family, single-income family (Dustman, 2015). However, gender equity has been achieved significantly in the US, where the dual-income family is achieved, for instance. Women have been known to participate in work fields that were previously dominated by men in historic times. Men have also taken up responsibilities that were previously reserved for women such as partaking household chores and taking care of children. This shows how gender roles have been made universal and how both men and women participate in ensuring that progression and equality are achieved.
However, the case discussed above does not apply to Chinese culture. In the latter, men are usually considered supreme to women. However, this is just a general statement, as some regions of China, such as Shanghai, embrace equality. The Confucian thought in China discusses the "natural hierarchy," which should be prevalent in every family (Kretschmer, 1994). For example, men are always considered dominant over women, and parents dominant over their children. As such, women should be answerable to men while children to their parents. The latter is responsible for ensuring that a unit is achieved in the family, which can be integrated easily into the society as Chinese culture believes in dependency, as discussed earlier. The supreme nature of men can be observed on occasions like weddings. Men sit directly opposite entrances to make their presence felt. Women, on the other hand, are associated with house chores and cooking on occasions like these. As such, gender inequality is felt in some sections of the Chinese culture.
Culturally Specific Disorders
Culture bound syndromes have become so common in the modern day. These types of diseases are only related to a specific culture. Chinese people are subjected to Shenkui syndrome. The syndrome is characterized by withdrawal-like symptoms, which range from chills, painful brain fog, anxiety, flu-like symptoms, and nausea. All the previously mentioned symptoms are associated with orgasms and loss of semen. The symptoms have been reported to even last for months after a single orgasm has taken place. Some causes attributed to this culture-bound syndrome include masturbation, excessive sexual intercourse exercised by men in the Chinese region, whitish urine (urine believed to contain small quantities of semen), and nocturnal emissions (Colson, 2013). As a result of this disorder being culture-bound, there are no specific treatment criteria that have been established, and hence, it has become a common disease among Chinese men.
The culture-bound syndrome in America, on the other hand, is called the dissociative identity syndrome. The latter can be categorized as a severe form dissociation whereby lack of communication between feelings, sense of identity, actions, or rather thoughts in the mental process is felt (Breidlid, 2008). Trauma is the most common reason that has been discussed to lead to this America bound syndrome, especially observed by the black Americans. Studies had discovered that the syndrome is usually common to people who were faced with traumatic experiences when they were young, and as such, they tend to dissociate themselves from the experience or thoughts associated with the traumatic occurrence. The disorder is recognized by testing a person's personality. People with more than two prevalent personalities in their behaviors tend to suffer from this disorder and thus they need to seek help from a psychiatrist.
According to the self-perception theory, people establish attitudes through observing behaviors that they portray. The subject of self-perception usually leads to high or low self-esteems, a subject which has been very vital in modern day psychology (Lindfors, 1983). In American culture, self-perception is a broad topic that is dependent on several factors. Personal values should be the basic foundation for self-perception in several cases. However, in American culture, self-perception is dependent on cultural values satisfaction (Dustman, 2015). The factors dictated by the culture that influence self-perception in America include doing one's duty, controlling one's life, social status achievement, and being beneficial to others. As a result, self-perception is collaborative rather than individual determined.
On the other hand, the Chinese view of self-perception is different from the American cultural view. Chinese culture believes that self-perception is only influenced by the social self. The social self is proposed to contain three types of self: familistic, relationship and other-oriented selves. As a result of these three selves, the Chinese self-perception is believed to be born or rather established. The latter has been described using the four-part theory (Fang, 2014). This theory shows that self-perception is determined by the personal values that a person possesses, unlike in the American, which believes that self-perception is collaborative, and that is shaped by societal values and beliefs (Kretschmer, 1994). Therefore, the difference in self-perception between the two cultures under study is determined by the values and people that are responsible for shaping up the self-esteem of the involved parties.
Interpersonal Attraction and Love
Interpersonal attraction and love are the other distinctive factors that distinguish the American culture from the Chinese culture. The symmetrical body shapes that spark attraction between two individuals in Chinese and American cultures differ significantly. Marriage, besides, is a celebration of the love between two parties, also differs between the two cultures, as it will be discussed in this section. In American culture, the idea of what is beautiful has quickly changed over the years, which can be witnessed by the standards of beauty that are present in the modern day. For instance, American men like women whose body is extremely thin, as compared to other cultures that prefer thick women (Kretschmer, 1994). As such, women in America will always work hard in the gyms and performing a lot of aerobics to obtain thin body stature. Failure in doing this, the self-esteem, especially of millennials, would be significantly affected, which is a common occurrence. On the other hand, muscular men are determined to be handsome, and hence, can engage themselves in interpersonal relationships quicker than men who fail to meet the masculine criteria.
Color is the other feature that has been used to define beauty in the United States of America. Most women from America are amazed when they see women from other cultures stepping out to work without applying any tanning on their faces. American beauty has been associated with tanning to make women have an awesome appearance. However, this greatly differs from the Chinese idea of beauty. Chinese men like their women white, which is their perception of beauty that eventually leads to the creation of interpersonal relationships (Colson, 2013). In China, white skin is usually referred to as healthy, and this in the Chinese culture is a good indication of fertility. Due to the latter reason, men will always look for women who are white in skin color and propose to start a mutual relationship. Despite the differences, one similarity between the two cultures is that they love thin women. On the other hand, women from both cultures like tall and rich men who are believed to be capable of protecting and providing for their families (Breidlid, 2008). When these conditions are met, a personal relationship can be formed, which can eventually lead to marriages.
Marriage and Family Structure
In traditional times, marriage between two people was not as a result of mutual understanding, and therefore,...
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