Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cultural biases may influence parenting studies

07.04.2008
When two University of Illinois scientists set out to learn about the differences in Chinese and American parenting behaviors at mealtime, they learned something important about the reliability of cross-cultural research.

In the study, 22 first-generation Chinese immigrant families with at least one 2-1/2 to 5-1/2-year-old child were videotaped during a shared meal. Two female Chinese research assistants and two female European-American research assistants then analyzed 755 minutes of video to get a large sample of a wide variety of behaviors.

Analysis was done by research assistants who were trained to categorize certain behaviors as either sensitive, intrusive, detached, having negative affect (do family members appear angry or hostile?), having positive affect (do family members seem to enjoy each other?), and the degree of parents’ confidence.

When their work was complete, the research assistants were asked to give detailed reasons for their ratings. Their reasons highlighted their different cultural perspectives about parent-child relationships.

“Although you can train a Chinese research assistant to say that it’s intrusive for a parent to put a bite of food in a four-year-old’s mouth, you can’t actually get him or her to believe it. Their cultural bias causes them to see this behavior as sensitive and loving,” said Angela Wiley, a U of I associate professor of human and community development.

“That’s important because those biases influence their coding in subtle ways, calling into question the validity of much of our past research that compares parenting behaviors across cultures,” she said.

Even when cross-cultural research assistants evaluate behavior as U.S. researchers train them to, the parenting behaviors of other cultures often suffer in comparison, she said.

“If an American research assistant notes behaviors such as the Chinese parent feeding the four-year-old, the researcher will conclude that Chinese parents are suppressing the independence of their children. There’s an inevitable bias toward our own cultural interpretations,” she said.

For example, in European-American cultures, parents stress the development of independence in their children. Chinese immigrant culture, on the other hand, values mutual obligation, including strong parental responsibilities and children’s obedience.

European-American cultures value parents’ consistency, whereas Chinese culture values flexibility and reacting in a context-sensitive way.

Chinese culture deems verbally and emotionally expressive persons as socially immature and lacking in self-control. In contrast, expressiveness, including direct verbal communication, is a major behavioral component by the individualism valued by Western cultures.

The influence of these perceptions on cross-cultural studies can be difficult to eliminate, Wiley said.

“Even so, it’s clearly important to continue and expand observational cultural research in an era of increasing contact with other cultures,” she said.

In the study, published in the January issue of Social Development, Wiley and her colleagues recommend using a combination of research assistants from both cultures for all data to minimize the researcher’s tendency to interpret behaviors using their own cultural framework. This collaborative approach maximizes cultural understanding in addition to improving the quality of comparative research, she said.

Phyllis Picklesimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>