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 Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School

nachricht Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier

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: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize

19.11.2018 | Information Technology

Controlling organ growth with light

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>