[MUSIC] Stanford University >> I’ve been really looking forward to this day to welcome you back to Stanford In my intro to personality and ethic of science class which I teach every year, I always tell the students to keep an eye out for the alums Because, even though you guys are here to see your fiends and to sort of see the changes that have happened at Stanford, a lot of the students and a lot of the other alums are looking to you to see what their lives are gonna be like 5 years, 10 years, 15 years down the line And it’s always good news when they see you walking around So, it’s always a thrill for me to see all of you guys come back Some of you were here before I was here and some of you were here after I’d been here And it’s just a thrill as a faculty member to always see alums come back So thank you for coming So today what I’m gonna do is tell you about research that we’ve been doing ever since I was actually an undergraduate here Looking at the role that culture plays in our every day lives When I first started doing this research, there wasn’t very much in the field of Psychology So I’m really thrilled to tell you that what we’ve learned over the past 20 plus years So how does culture shape our emotions? This is a question that I think a lot of people have asked, especially if you’ve had any kind of experience in another cultural context Whether you were raised in a culture that’s different from the one in the United States, mainstream American culture Or whether you’ve spent time and traveled in other culture contexts So like I said, when I graduated from Stanford I went to the Cal for graduate school And I know I know but I’m back here so it’s okay! [LAUGH] >> [LAUGH] >> And there was actually most of the work on culture and emotion came from anthropology Are there any anthropology majors in the audience? All right And most of that work was really what we call thick description So it would go into different culture contexts and look at the different kinds of rituals and that revolved around emotion And, most of that work concluded that, emotions are almost entirely culturally constructed But, in psychology, where there was just a little bit of research, most of the studies suggested just the opposite They suggested that there were more cultural similarities than there were differences in emotion And in fact when I started doing work in graduate school using state of the art methods in emotion to try to understand how culture influence emotion we found more similarities than differences So for example we would bring European Americans and Chinese Americans who where oriented to both Chinese and American cultures please come in there’s seats over here yeah [LAUGH] No, no problem Welcome >> Sorry >> We bring them into the lab, and we’d have them watch emotionally evocative films, or we’d have them relive different emotional episodes in their lives We even had couples come into the lab and talk about really heated topics In the relationships in the lab And all the while we were measuring their physiological responses How fast their hearts were beating, how much they were sweating We were videotaping them to look at their facial expressions And we would ask them to tell us how they were feeling when they were in the throws of different emotional episodes And again, what we found was mainly cultural similarities in their responses Particularly in their physiological responses and in how they reported feeling, but also similarities in what they showed on their faces More similarities than differences And so we were really wondering well, who’s right? Is it the anthropologists that are right, is it the psychologists that are right? Is there a way in which we can reconcile these different findings and so when I started as a faculty member at Stanford in 2000, we were really trying to find a way to integrate these different literatures And we came up with what I’m going to talk with you about today, which is call Affec valuation theory and I’m just proud to say that Julie Sandler, you can raise your hand, she was one of the first students that worked with us on some of these projects So it is great to have her in the audience and so what we started thinking was that maybe the anthropological work and the psychological work were focusing on different aspects of emotion In psychology, we really have primarily focused on what we call actual affect, or how we’re actually feeling when we’re in the throws of an emotional event It’s like, how you’re responding to some sort of meaningful event that happens in your life But we started thinking that maybe there was another aspect of emotion that was being understudied by psychologists and this is we call ideal affect It’s the affect of states that we unconsciously or consciously aspire to feel, they’re like our emotional goals, how we want to feel, how we ideally want to feel So, come in So we started thinking that maybe these are two different

aspects of emotion that are very important in our everyday lives and maybe culture influences one over the other Now, some of you may be wondering what do we mean by affect so let me just take some time to describe what I mean by affect So by affect we’re really, as emotion researchers, psychologists, talking about feeling states that can be described in terms of two dimensions They’re the dimension of valence, so how positive or how negative you feel And they’re the dimension of arousal, how highly aroused you are or low aroused you are So high arousal states are feeling really stimulated, energized, surprised Versus low arousal states, which are more like feeling passive and idle The reason we decided to focus on these particular feeling states, affective states, is that we know from a lot of literature, that across cultures people organize their feeling states in terms of these two dimensions In other words they have similar meaning across cultures and across different languages, and so you can compare them across cultures, okay? So when I talk about affect, I’m really talking about these feeling states that can be described in terms of these two dimensions And so basically in our studies, our initial studies that Julie was part of, we would just ask people of different cultures, how much do actually feel these states on average and how much do you ideally wanna feel these states on average? And we’re primarily interested in the states that are in red and are in blue So, you have states like enthusiasm and excitement, right? They differ in very subtle ways, but what they share is that they’re positive states, they’re highly arousing, highly energizing And this is in contrast to positive states, like relaxation and calm, they’re positive but they involve low arousal Right? So throughout the talk I’m gonna be referring to excited states, and I mean these high arousal positive states I might call them hap states And I’ll also refer to calm states, these low arousal positive states, or these lab states Okay, so we asked people, how much do you actually feel these states on average, how much do you ideally wanna feel this states on average? And what we found was that most people wanna feel more positive than negative, which might not be surprising But, most people also feel more positive, sorry, they feel less positive, and more negative than they actually wanna feel, which is kind of depressing., right? They don’t really feel how they wanna feel But on the other hand, it was good for us because it showed us that how people actually feel and how they ideally wanna feel, are two different things And this might seem pretty obvious to you, that you don’t always feel how you wanna feel, but in psychology, there hadn’t been really distinction between actual and ideal affect Again, most of the research focused on actual affect And again, we think that this is important because it maybe that culture influences how we want to feel even more than how we actually feel So culture is something that teaches us what’s good, moral, right, vitreous This is what Rick Swader, cultural psychologist, anthropologist argues The main function of culture is it tells us what’s good And by definition then, what’s bad, sinful, wrong, right? And so we just apply this idea to emotional states that culture teaches us which emotional states are good emotional states to feel Now actual affect is probably also influenced by culture But, it’s influenced by a whole host of other factors as well It’s influenced by our temperaments So, if we’re biologically predisposed to be happier, on the happier side or on the more sad side our actual affective states are also influenced by our immediate circumstances If we’ve run into a colleague we don’t like on a particular day Actual affect is also influenced by our ability to regulate our emotional state So a lot of things are influencing actual affect, including culture, but we think culture is primarily influencing how we ideally wanna feel So when we’ve administered these self report measures to members of different cultural contexts, we find support for this prediction We find that culture seems to influence how people want to feel, even more than how they actually feel So, these are data from the study that Julie helped us with But we’ve replicated these findings in lots of other studies since And here, what we find is that European Americans, and this is individuals of Western European decent, who’ve been in the United States for multiple generations, whose ancestors were from west European countries They value these excitement states more than their Hong Kong Chinese counterparts, who are in blue So this is why when somebody asks you how you’re feeling, really the only right answer is I’m feeling great and I’m having a lot of fun, right >> [LAUGH] >> It’s the reason why you should feel passionate about what you do, when you were finding

a major you had to find a subject that you felt passionate about It’s why you should feel passionate about who you love So you can see instances of this emphasis on these excitement states in American culture And I’m gonna show you some examples in just a few minutes So in contrast, Hong Kong Chinese in blue, value the calm states more than European Americans in red They value the calm, peaceful serene states And you can see that Chinese Americans who are in green, value both states We selected Chinese Americans who reported being oriented equally to Chinese and American cultures And so, Chinese Americans are valuing the excitement states as much as their European American peers and more than Hong Kong Chinese But they’re valuing the calm states more than their European, American peers and in some cases more than their Hong Kong, Chinese peers And we can talk a little bit about why that might be the case in Q and A By the way, I should say I can talk, and talk, and talk but I would really welcome any questions that you have during the talk So if you have any questions, please raise your hand, it’s much more fun if we’re engaging in a dialogue Okay, so what’s interesting about this, in addition to the cultural differences and ideal affect is that these differences occur against a backdrop of almost no differences in actual affect So, people don’t report actually feeling different levels of excitement or calm states It’s really how much they wanna feel these states that varies across cultures And again, we’ve replicated these findings in a lot of different studies >> Can I ask you a question? >> Yes, please >> Does this suggest that European Americans value LAP than HAP? >> So, really good question The question was do European Americans value LAP more than HAP? They value HAP and LAP the same So, if you’re looking at within each culture, you know, how much they value each state, you’ll notice that the European Americans are valuing both And it’s really the Chinese, the Hong Kong Chinese and the Chinese Americans who are really valuing those calm states more than excitement So, the difference I really want you to focus on is the relative emphasis that Americans place on excitement states compared to Chinese And sometimes we find this, there’s no difference for this sample of European Americans in terms of how much they value excitement and calm Sometimes we find European Americans value excitement states more than calm states Sometimes they value calm states more One thing that’s kind of interesting is after 9/11 that was when we started finding that the European Americans valued the calm things states more than the excitement states This is now maybe more information than you wanna know When we give people a forced choice they have to choose between excited and calm faces for example and tell us which one they prefer, European Americans always choose the excited face more So, it’s not that they’re equally choosing the two So this has made us wonder, you know in these questions we’re just asking how much do you value these states, but we’re not really asking people why In some studies where we say, what is you ideal state? Which I’ll show you in a second When people provided longer responses, it seems like they say that, the European Americans, say that they value the calm states in order to get to the excited states So for example, one participant said I want to sleep all day so I can party all night long [LAUGH] And so there is some, sort of what is the function of the calm state? Is it ultimately getting you to the excited state? Whereas the Hong Kong Chinese you will see, they really like the calm states in and of themselves, so yes >> There’s a lot of yoga and other kinds of Eastern influence, things going on in the Western culture that’s basically trying to teach people to go the other way >> Right >> So, how does that make- >> Yeah, really good question See, you guys are just like, so smart I just love presenting this stuff to you [LAUGH] >> So, if Americans value excitement so much, why is there this fascination with yoga? And so there’s lots of things to say about that So, I have some data to support this and some of this is speculation, but In the search for excitement, Americans engage in lots of different activities When we ask people, what’s your ideal vacation? European Americans are just more likely to list many, many things they want to do They want to visit this city and that city and do this thing and that thing And I think it is, as a way trying to get to that excitement But when you’re doing that many activities it also creates a lot of stress So, you’re able to get to this high arousal state, but it’s not necessarily positive A lot of times it’s negative And I think part of the fascination with yoga is it gets you that calm to counteract the stress that you feel in your search for excitement, that’s one response Another response is, if any of you guys have done yoga, I used to do yoga for a long time, you know that there are different forms of yoga in a yoga studio,

and many forms of yoga are not calm You know, some of them are really aerobics classes, right, under the guise of yoga So there’s power yoga, and there’s these different American forms of yoga that I think really bring in that excitement So, I think it is a really interesting question There is lots of individual differences within a culture obviously, so there are some people who are really seeking calm for calm’s sake But I also think that part of the fascination with yoga is to counteract actually the effects, the negative effects of trying to seek excitement Yes? >> I’m wondering about age >> As a variable too, I’m thinking of young people who are very externally oriented, and wanting the excitement of social media >> Right Right, so what about age? So, a lot of these studies are primarily on college students We have done some studies on community samples In one particular study, we looked at individuals between the ages of 18 and 80 And we did this because a lot of people predicted well as you get older Certainly you don’t value excitement states as much right? The study that we did was not a longitudinal study It was a cross sectional study So we had to compare 80 year olds with 20 year olds But what we found was that with European American 80 years olds Healthy, healthy 80 year Value excitement just as much as the younger European Americans And I don’t have it in this talk, but it’s not that surprising Because if you look at different advertisements about healthy aging, healthy aging in the United States is basically to not be old It’s to be young, and there’s all this excitement So one of the, one of the advertisements is for Kellogg’s products, like corn flakes But it says the way to stay active, and then its got two individuals in their 70s, running on the beach Is to buy all these exciting products So you being American older adults value excitement states as much as the younger counter parts Chinese counter parts on the other hand Chinese-American older adults don’t value excitement states as much as their younger counterparts So, the effects of age on ideal ethics seems to vary as a function of culture, too Yes >> You’re saying this is empirical data from college age students >> Right >> Does that match up against any cultural norms that historically have been presented as European American culture individualism? >> Oh great question, and hold on and I’ll answer that in a second, okay I’m just gonna now tell you not to ask questions for just a few minutes [LAUGH] >> [LAUGH] Because you’re all asking great questions and let me get through a few more slides and then you can ask questions And so, when we ask people on an open ended way, rhat is your ideal state? So we don’t give them our measure, we just ask them to tell us with their own words, we find the same differences So this is a prototypical European American college student who says, I just wanna be happy Normally for me, that means I would be doing something exciting I just wanna be entertained I just like excitement And this is in contrast to a Hong Kong Chinese college student who says, my ideal state is to be quiet, serene, happy, and positive So they’re both talking about happiness, right? You can see that in both of their responses, but they’re associating different states with happiness And again when we compare the emotional states that European Americans and Hong Kong Chinese mention in their open ended responses, we find the differences that we’ve been talking about Okay, so the question then is, well, If this is really cultural, we should be able to identify in which people learn to want to feel these states, right? And we think of culture as being the environments that people are exposed to and engaging with So we wanted to see whether or not we could identify some ways in which people learned to want to feel a certain way Now, where do we learn about what to value? The media So first we decided to look at the best selling children’s story books >> [LAUGH] >> In the United States and in Taiwan, this was in 2005, and we coded the expressions of the characters, animal or human, in these best selling story books We coded lots of emotional content, I’m just gonna tell you about a few things that we looked at So we looked at the width of the smile controlling for the total size of the face and we looked at whether it was an excited smile So this is an open smile, we think of it as a toothy Julia Robert’s smile >> [LAUGH] >> That’s an excited smile And we found that the American best selling children story books, like, Where the Wild Things Are, had more excited and fewer calm smiles than the best selling children story book’s in Taiwan So here you can see this is the big excitement smile and this is the calm smile So calm smile’s a closed smile, we think of it as like the Buddha Dali Lama smile

So American best selling story books has more excitement and fewer calm than the best selling Taiwanese story books The characters were also engaged in much more physiologically arousing kinds of activities Their jumping and running and roaring And walking less and lying down less than the characters in the best selling Taiwanese story books We’ve also looked at the facial expressions in best selling women’s magazines in the United States and in China And again, you see more excited smiles and fewer calm smiles in the American women’s magazines compared to the Chinese women’s magazines We even have looked at the Facebook photos of American college students versus Chinese college students, and again we see that the American photos have more of these excited expressions, and they’re engaged in more exciting activities than in the Hong Kong Chinese Facebook profiles Recently, we’ve even looked at the official photos of the leading figures in government and in other domains, in the United States and in China And we find that government officials in the United States have more of these excited smiles than Chinese officials Again, this is not just specific to government It’s true in business as well So American CEOs have more of these excited smiles than the Chinese CEOs and we’ve just also looked at university presidents [LAUGH] And you can see that John Hennessey has got this excited smile compared to one of his counterparts in China In fact in a study, now these studies are just comparing the occurrence of these excited and these calm smiles But how do we know that they’re really associated with ideal affect? So in another study, we sampled the ideal affect of college students in ten different nations, representing a variety of East Asian and Western context And then we coded the facial expressions in the official photos of legislators in each one of those countries And what we found was that the more that the country valued excitement, so this is on the X-axis, the more likely the legislators were to show excited smiles in their official photos And this was true when we looked at calm, the more the nation valued calm, the more likely the legislators were to show calm in their photos And what’s interesting is that, the measures of ideal affect were obtained eight years before the photos were coded of the legislators So what we think we’re doing is measuring ideal affect in the culture, and using it to predict what we see in the official’s photos eight years later And actual affect, how much the college students actually felt these states didn’t predict the expressions in the legislators’ official photos Moreover, when we looked at other national indicators, like how wealthy the nation was, how democratic the nation was, how developed the nation was, none of those predicted the occurrence of excited and calm smiles It was really how much the culture valued specific states Yes? >> A friend of mine who’s a dentist one time told me that you can tell the level of development in a country based upon people’s teeth >> That’s interesting >> This is modern day, if you were to look back 100 years >> What kind of expressions do you see in the Western Europeans? Because when I see pictures, well there wasn’t pictures then But when I see drawings and some of those early sketches in things, they’re always calm >> It’s really interesting to think about within a culture historical changes And with this, I can tell you We think that the causes of these cultural differences go way back but we haven’t really done any analysis of for example, photos on the 1920s or 1950s But what’s interesting is that When we do measure how developed the nation is, it’s not accounting for these differences How developed a nation is does account for whether or not a legislator is smiling, but it doesn’t predict the type of smile that the person is showing, yeah That’s a really nice question Yes >> Can you say a bit how you controlled for the frequency or expanse of this >> Yes, so we asked people how much do you actually feel these states on average or over the course of a typical week, and then we asked how much do ideally wanna feel these states over the course of a typical week And in these analysis, we control for how much they’re actually feeling these statesand we find these relationships when we control for that So it’s not due to how much people are actually feeling the states No, not with actual fact, not with actual ethic, not in this particular study, which is interesting, yeah

Yes? So I’m Chinese American I was born here, but my parents are very traditional Chinese And I remember being told by them that people who smile too much were probably crazy Well you know, [LAUGHTER] yeah, you’re not alone in that actually I’ve had students from many different cultures come into the lab, to either to study as graduate students or as undergraduates And one of my first students is Yuli Etchizen and she’s now a professor at Georgetown University and she’s Russian And she said that whenever she went back to Russia, people would always know first that she came from the United States, because she had that big, broad smile And they would always tell her, her family members would say, stop smiling so much You look like an idiot [LAUGH] >> [LAUGH] >> So, I think the idea, and which she said more, is it’s almost to suggest that you don’t understand that life is suffering If you understood that, why would you have that big broad smile? Right? So culture matters Okay So one of the questions was why, why are there are these differences in ideal ethic? >> Why is it the case that the American culture seems to value these excitement states more and the calm states less than many Chinese context And so we think that this does have to do with individuals and collectivism Or the idea that there’s certain cultures, we know from a lot of previous research That really privilege the individual And individual cultures are supposed to put your own needs over those of the group And compared to more collectivistic context, where you’re supposed to put the needs of your in group over your own personal needs And there’s been some research by Hazel Marcus in our department and other people, that have shown that in an individualistic context, one of the goals is really to influence other people So that means that you take your desires and your preferences and you try to change your environment so it is consistent with your preferences and your desires So if you buy a new house and you do not like the way it looks, you renovate it Right? Or if you disagree with a friend about something you try to persuade them why you are right, and they are wrong [LAUGH] And this is in contrast to many collectivistic contexts where the emphasis is more on adjusting to others So, you’re supposed to suppress more your internal preferences, needs and desires in order to fit in with those of the group And what we argue is that in more Individualistic context where the emphasis on influence, there is more of a value placed on action and doing, right? Because you’re trying to change your environment to be consistent with your preferences Or your beliefs, and so you have to do something about it and it actually requires an increase in physiological arousal So if you want influence then you want to feel these high arousal positive states This is in contrast to collectivistic context where if the emphasis is on adjustment, that you need to at least initially suspend action You need to figure out, what people expect of you, or what is required of you before you act And so suspension of action requires a decrease in physiological arousal So if you value adjustment, you should value these calm states And so we’ve done a series of studies in the lab both using surveys as well as experiments to test this hypothesis And I’m just gonna tell you quickly, about one of them, where we basically had undergraduates come into the lab, our lab here, as well as in Hong Kong And, we told them that they were gonna be engaged in a task with a partner who hadn’t arrived yet And we said that they were gonna be working on building an object Now if they were in the influence condition they were told that their job would be to build and object and then they were going to have to tell their partner how to build that object But their partner wasn’t going to be able to see the object So basically they were going to have to really articulate what they had done and get their partner to build the same object They had to influence their partner In the adjustment condition, participants were told that they were gonna wait for their partner Their partner was gonna make an object They were gonna have to really listen carefully to the instructions that their partner gave them, so that they could really build an object that was what like what their partner had built So they had to really adjust to their partner And then we told them that their partner hadn’t arrived yet, so they could listen to some music to help them prepare for the task And so we gave them a choice between two CDs One CD was called Soundsplash, and it had these fabricated reviews that said lively, stimulating, and exhilarating music [LAUGH] versus Windchants’ tranquil, soothing, and peaceful music And so we just gave them a choice, which cd to do you want to listen to? And we found that across cultures, those participants who were in the influence condition, who were told they were gonna have to influence basically their partner, were more likely to choose the CD with the exciting music than the participants who were in the adjustment condition And this held across cultures, but we also found that European Americans were just more likely to choose that exciting CD compared to their Hong Kong,

Chinese counterparts and Asian Americans were right in the middle So we think that the reason Americans value excitement states more than Hong Kong, Chinese, Taiwanese, [INAUDIBLE] is because they wanna influence more and adjust less than their Chinese counterparts Okay So now, you might be wondering, well, why does this matter? Other than understanding how culture influences emotion Why should we really care? And so the last part of our model argues that how we wanna feel actually predicts a lot of things that we do in our every day lives Consciously and unconsciously, we do things to achieve the state that we wanna feel And so that, for example, when you’re feeling bad, you might do something to feel better But, what you specifically do to feel better, might be a reflection of how you wanna feel, more than how you actually feel And so for the rest of the talk I’m gonna tell you about different ways in which ideal affect matters The first one is in how you define happiness We talked about this earlier So I show this advertisement, it’s for Propel water and it says fit has a feeling And for those of you who can’t see it, then there’s a whole bunch of these ID cards that have these big excitement smiles on it, right And so the idea here is that we associate particular emotions with health, both mental and physical health And so what we’ve predicted is that how a culture wants, teaches its members to feel, will influence how its members think of happiness, health, and wellbeing, and similarly, how the culture defines distress and depression, okay? So in one study, we basically asked participants to define the emotions, to identify the emotions that were central to feeling good In other studies we said, that are central feeling happy In other studies, that are central to feeling well So it doesn’t really matter how we ask the question And then we gave people a choice between a number of different emotions They’re obviously not presented in this way They’re presented in random order And we had them choose the emotions that they associated with feeling well, feeling good, happiness And what we found is that European Americans and Asian Americans, in the red and the green, choose more of these excited states compared to their Hong Kong, Chinese counterparts And the Hong Kong, Chinese choose the calm states more than their European American and Asian American counterparts, okay? So you might say, well, that’s already what you showed us So then we asked participants, well now what are the states that you associate with feeling depressed, feeling emotionally distressed? And what we predicted was the in cultures that value excitement states, they should define depression more in terms of the absence of excitement, right? So feeling dull, sleepy, and sluggish, what we call these low arousal negative states, and that in cultures that really value calm states they should define distress in terms of the opposite of these calm states These high-arousal negative states like feeling anxious and fearful and nervous And so, this is what we found, that the European Americans and Asian Americans were more likely to talk about depression, emotional distress, feeling bad in terms of these low-arousal negative states, the opposite of the excitement states, compared to Hong Kong Chinese And Hong Kong Chinese were more likely to talk about feeling bad, feeling distressed, and feeling depressed in terms of these higher arousal negative states So ideal affect is influencing not only how we conceive of health, mental health, but how we conceive of mental illness Now again, you might say, well okay, but how does it play itself out in mental health contexts? So we were then interested in looking at the ways in which psychologists, researchers and clinicians, assess well being and assess depression in clinical settings So we took the most popular inventories that have been used in both research and clinical settings to assess well being and depression, and then we coded each item or sentence in each one of these inventories for their emotional content And this is just an example of the measures if you’re in the field But basically what we found was that these well-being measures really sample a lot of excitement, that’s how they define well-being, and they have very few items that sample calm states And that when you look at depression measures, again, to the degree that they refer to positive states, those depression inventories are sampling excitement states more and calm states less And moreover, they’re really sampling more of these dull states, the opposite of these excitement states more than these, high arousal negative states opposite of the calm states So that means that even the inventories that we are using to assess happiness and

depression in researching clinical context are a product of our cultural ideals And that’s not really a problem if you’re primarily studying and treated European American participants or American participants, but it’s a problem when these inventories are being used to study happiness and depression in other cultural contexts, which they are They’re often translated and just used to assess well being and happiness and depression in other settings, and so the problem is that they’re really not including some states that are really essential to other people’s emotional lives who don’t value calm states Okay, they don’t value excitement states, sorry, and value calm states more Okay, so how else does ideal affect matter? Well, we’ve done a number of studies that shows that ideal affect even predicts a number of things, not just how you define happiness and depression, but also predicts what you do in your daily lives to feel good So we’ve looked at a number of behaviors We find that when we present people with exciting and calm music, the more you value excitement, the more likely you choose the excited music We find that people who value excitement even when you put them on a treadmill, they run faster on a treadmill [LAUGH] than people who value calm states more In other studies, we’ve presented people with common exciting consumer products So you can have, like, this sort of soothing versus revitalizing gum Calming versus lively Suave lotion, or it works for shampoo Relaxing or energizing waters And then these are those CDs that I showed you earlier And European Americans are more likely to choose the exciting products than their Chinese counterparts And within cultures, the more that people value excitement states, the more likely they are to choose these exciting products So even at your everyday choices at the grocery store, your ideal affect is influencing what you do I don’t have time to go over this And in another recently published study, one of my former graduate students, Tamara Sims, was interested in whether ideal affect influences more serious decisions like who you choose to be your primary care provider So she had participants, college students as well as community adults imagine that their primary care provider was no longer available and that they had to choose a new one And then she presented them with two descriptions Dr. H, who, these doctors were similar in terms of their medical training and their expertise but they varied in terms of their views of patient care and their outside interests So Doctor H says that his goal as a physician is to enhance well being by increasing patient’s activity levels and overall vitality so that they can lead dynamic lifestyles as a high arousal positive physician Their outside interests include helping youths discover a passion for educational goals Then they were also read a description of a physician who is again similar in terms of training but wants to have his patients have a piece of mind and he wants to promote a calm and relaxed lifestyle, and of course has outside interests that are more calming And then they could also chose, they read a description of a more neutral physician who just wanted to keep their patients healthy And we found that the more individuals valued excitement, the more likely they were to choose that excited over the calm and neutral physicians, and how much they actually felt calm or excitement didn’t predict their choice In another study, she wanted to see whether or not it even predicted people’s adherence to physician’s recommendations So she recruited participants to be involved in a study that was testing a virtual health center And they basically received recommendations They were all very healthy participants, and they received recommendations from either more exciting or more calm physician And then she followed the participants up every day for a week, and she found that when participants valued excitements states and were given recommendations by an excited physician, they were more likely to adhere to those recommendations There were things like, don’t eat two hours before you go to bed, make sure to take a 30 minute brisk walk, and that the participants who valued calm states were more likely to adhere to those recommendations if they were given by a calm physician So ideal affect predicts consumer products as well as more significant decisions, like who you want to provide care to you, and who you’re gonna listen to Okay, let’s see In the last few minutes, I’m gonna tell you, are there any questions before I tell you about this last? Yes >> Do any of these studies address the Middle Eastern? >> No, we would let, in psychology, most of the research in psychology is

primarily focused on European Americans, and then from the 1990s there was more of an interest in culture, and so a lot of it was focused on East Asians There’s a lot of work on African Americans But Middle Eastern, Latino, context, African context, there’s still a lot of work that we need to do >> What were you talking about cultural and Europe, at least in the old days, the Americans were always known for smiling too much and being loud and all that kind of stuff I think it’s unfair to the over there [INAUDIBLE] >> Yeah, so the comment was that the European perspective of Americans is that they’re too loud and maybe too extroverted and too talkative >> So we have done some studies comparing European Americans with Germans, and instead of focus This is some work by who know teaches at Santa Clara University When she came to the United States, she felt like people would ask her how she was and she would say [SOUND] just horrible because I can’t find anything and I can’t really speak the language And She just noticed quickly that people didn’t want to talk to her >> [LAUGH] >> And she thought that that had something to do with the emotion, right, and she very quickly said, everything’s great, and then people would hang out with her >> [LAUGH] >> And so she actually, for her dissertation, did a series of really nice studies looking at whether there are cultural differences between European Americans and Germans and how they view negative emotion And what she found is that European Americans want to avoid negative emotion much more than Germans And this actually has consequences for how people express sympathy or how they respond to the suffering of other people So, what she was thinking is that when she herself would say all these bad things happened, everybody would say to her, well don’t worry, things will get better And she felt like that was so superficial She was going through a hard time, and they weren’t really listening to her And, so, she thought that if you looked at, for example, American-German sympathy cards you might see this difference So, she coded all these representatives sympathy cards in the United States, and Germany And the prototypical American sympathy card says something like, may you remember the laughter, and the good memories Aand it’s really colorful, and has pictures of flowers But the typical German card is in black and white and it’s like withering dying flowers >> [LAUGH] >> And it just says something like in deep sadness >> [LAUGH] >> And so she asked the European Americans and Germans, imagine that an acquaintance of yours just lost a loved one, which card, kind of card would you prefer to send She created her own cards, so they were matched in all different ways And she found that Americans were more likely to choose the card that had more positive words and that had more positive images than the Germans did And that they actually prefer to receive those cards as well and that those differences were due to cultural differences and how much people wanted to avoid negative emotion So, it’s not really talking about how talkative they are, but there are obviously differences between Europeans and European-Americans And we think it has a lot to do with the kinds of cultures that are created by people who immigrate and that have voluntary settlement Yes? >> It’s a few generations in the past, but it’s like my dad had kinda like a German influence And you don’t say I love you, you don’t do any of that Of course you don’t have to, cuz you know >> Right >> Like with my wife They’re always on the phone I love you, I love you >> [LAUGH] >> It almost cheapens it >> Yeah [INAUDIBLE] >> Well, so how does this reflect, manifest itself in expressions of positive emotion? And I think your case is not a unique case in the sense that, a lot of times, when people come from different cultures or you have, for example, Asian Americans who are born in the United States, but their parents were born in an East Asian context You can see a lot of conflict or at least misunderstanding Because people have different positive emotional ideals Yes? >> Did a study on ideal affect [INAUDIBLE] >> No, but I think that that, so how does ideal affect predict mate selection? No, but I’m gonna now, thank you for that cuz that perfectly segues to just the last few slides I have So we have been interested in how ideal affect influences Influences our perceptions of other people And what we predict is that when somebody is showing the emotion that you value, you like them more, that you just rate them more positively

You’re not conscious of it all, right When you meet somebody for the first time, you just have a sense of, like, their friendly, or you just make these very quick judgments You may be right, you may be wrong, but you make these judgements You have a strong feeling, like I like them, they were warm And the questions is like where that comes from and a lot of times you just think well it’s about the person, I can just tell their a friendly person, or their a warm person, or I don’t like that person there’s something weird about them What you don’t think is that it might really reflect your culture Right? And so, we’ve done some studies where we’ve shown participants pictures of targets that have excited or calm smiles and they vary in terms of their ethnicity and their gender And we ask them to rate them along a number of dimensions, like how friendly they are, how warm they are How trustworthy they are And we find that European-Americans rate excited faces more and calm faces less positively than Hong Kong Chinese I’m showing you computer generated faces, which it applies for computer generated faces too, which control for other features of the face But we’ve other studies that are with real faces, human faces, and we find these differences And in fact when we asked people, we showed people an excited or a calm face and we ask them to choose which face that they want to see again, we find that the European Americans are more likely to choose the excited face that they wanna see again compared to the Hong Kong Chinese It doesn’t matter what the ethnicity of the target is It doesn’t matter what the gender of the target is So, you might think that European Americans are more likely to choose white faces Hong Kong Chinese are more likely to choose Asian faces but that’s not the case The European Americans are more likely to choose the excited faces and the Hong Kong Chinese are more likely to choose the calm faces Okay, so maybe this has something to do with mate selection, right You’re choosing somebody who reflects how you wanna feel, how you wanna be And so we’ve done studies that show that ideal affect predicts this and that actual affect doesn’t Okay So, we’re doing now some studies that are trying to look at what are the underlying mechanisms? And so, this is in collaboration with Brian Knutson, who’s my husband, who’s also a faculty member in the Psychology Department And he’s really the neuroscientist on this But we’re using neuroimaging to see what happens when you see a face that matches your ideal affect? It could be that you just attend to that face more And that would suggest that there would be greater recruitment of these face processing areas of the brain It could be that you just identify with that face more when you see it, or it could be that you just find that face more rewarding And without going into the details, you can ask me questions later, we basically find that it’s the reward mechanism that seems to really matter So, it’s not the case that people are just visually processing faces that match their ideal affect more They’re actually processing them the same But what European Americans are doing, they find excited faces more and the calm faces less rewarding that their Chinese counterparts do And they also find them as more relevant So the part of the brain that is associated with identity Is also active So here, Chinese show greater activation in the brain areas associated with self and identity when they’re viewing Asian calm faces So, I know that’s a lot and if you have questions I can tell you more about them later But the point is, that you can really see that culture is influencing even our neural responses to faces that match or mismatch our ideal affect Okay, and we think that this actually might have implications for how we judge people of cultures that are different than our own And so, in a lot of different domains, one thing that people talk about is the bamboo ceiling, that Asian-Americans can make it to middle-level positions, but they don’t make it to the top-level positions There aren’t as many CEOs or university presidents And often times it’s because people say that Asian Americans just don’t have what it takes to lead And the hypothesis that we’re testing is that kind of abstract what it takes to lead is really about an emotional fit And because so many Asian American value calm states, that maybe they’re showing the state that they value but that’s being processed by their European American employers as not having what it takes or as not being as likeable Anyways, so we think that our work has some implications for the bamboo ceiling and other kinds of disparities in different domains in American society Okay, so in summary, how we wanna feel differs from how we actually feel Cultural factors seem to shape how we wanna feel more than how we actually feel American contexts value these excitement states more than and these calm states less than many East Asian contexts People learn to value theses states through exposure to different forms of media So I didn’t tell you that we have some studies

where we actually expose people to these different excited verses calm images And we see that at least temporarily it changes their affective preferences And we think ideal affect is important because it predicts various aspects of everyday life at the cultural and at the individual level, including how we define happiness, what we do, what we choose to do, how we perceive others and even who we like So, I’m gonna just end by thanking our collaborators and our funding agencies, and thanking the current members of the Culture and Emotion Lab, and thank you for coming and thank you for your attention >> [APPLAUSE] >> For more, please visit us at stanford.edu