Is the Warm Glow of Giving Universal?

If I gave you $20, would you feel happier spending the money on yourself or spending the money on someone else? If you’re like most people in the world …

The World at 7:00 PM

Psychologists know how to describe individuals, but can they describe situations? Volunteers in 20 nations used a new tool to describe what they did last night at 7:00.

Do People Everywhere Cheat?

Do people in some countries generally cheat more often than people in other countries? Two international teams of researchers think not.

Two Steps Toward Intercultural Competence

Interacting successfully with people who are culturally different is rarely easy. Insights from cross-cultural psychology can help.

The Seductive Allure of Psychological Atlases

A psychological atlas is a map that depicts regional variations in the observed scores on a psychological measure or test. Why are they often problematic?

Why Psychologists Conduct Cross-Cultural Studies

Cross-cultural psychology is hot, hot, hot. But it's as much about "method" as it is about "content." Why must mainstream psychologists sometimes conduct studies in foreign lands?

That’s Not Fair!

Where do standards of fairness come from? Are they a human universal, part of some evolutionary adaptation that supports cooperation? Or are they socially acquired norms?

Why Are Old People So Religious?

The stereotype of the elderly churchgoer is deeply ingrained in the American psyche. Many of us assume that the older you get, the more religious you become. But is that true?

Does Advertising Content Reflect or Shape Societal Values?

Two psychologists examined the content of ads in Dutch and Italian newspapers. How often were women depicted as sex objects? How often were men depicted as working professionals?

Are You Being Lied To?

No matter the technique, most people can’t spot liars on a consistent basis. One potential solution is to remove “people” from the equation. Just let a computer do it.

Are School Shooters Running Amok?

School shootings in the U.S. are similar in many ways to a SE Asian variety of sudden mass assault called “amok.” Does it make sense to think of American-style school shootings as a culture-bound syndrome?

How Important Is It to Look Competent?

University students in Korea can look at the faces of two unknown political opponents in the U.S. and choose the winner about two-thirds of the time, yet they can’t accurately predict what happens in their own country. What’s going on here?

Emotions, Culture, and Heart Disease

The relationship between expressing hostility and heart disease is a strong candidate for a psychological universal. Or is it?

I, Me, Mine

Americans, as a group, are becoming more individualistic. But what about people in other countries? In collectivist China, for example. Do they also have a Generation Me?

Thoughts Wandering in an Estonian Cemetery

Do Estonians, because of their surnames, feel more closely connected to nature? And what would happen if the dead wrote their own inscriptions on gravestones?

The Construction of National Identity: The Estonian Case

Personal identities and self-concepts are often shaped by the ways in which we differ from others. Is the same also true for ethnic and national identities?

Communication Styles in Estonia and the United States

Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate and to even prefer the communication style used by most Estonians. It’s liberating to know that you don’t have to acknowledge everyone you see and don't have to fill the silent spaces with empty words.

Are Muslim Arabs Especially Fatalistic?

Many commentators claim that Muslim Arabs are fatalistic, that they believe what happens in life is mostly beyond their control. Are these claims valid?

Creativity and Multicultural Experiences

In a recent study, children whose parents were born in different countries were generally more creative than children whose parents were born in the same country. The mystery is why.

Are Bilinguals Really Smarter?

Conventional wisdom says that individuals who speak more than one language are more adept cognitively than individuals who speak just one language. A new study, however, challenges the notion that bilingualism enhances cognitive control, despite a large number of studies showing just such an advantage. The alleged culprit? Publication bias.

Solving the Puzzle of National Differences in Self-Esteem

A well-documented finding in cultural psychology is that people in individualistic societies typically score higher on measures of self-esteem than people in collectivist societies. Less well understood are the reasons for this difference.

Where Is the Future?

In spatial terms, where are the future and past located? The answer seems to depend on one’s language, one’s cultural values, and even one’s age.

How High Is Your Horizon?

A team of researchers crammed themselves into a classroom in Japan. They passed out art supplies to the students and said, “Draw a landscape with a horizon.” On the other side of the world, the same scene played out in a Canadian classroom. Later, the researchers closely examined one detail—the placement of the horizon line. Why?

Two-Dimensional Sounds and Dutch Babies

In some places, people talk about musical notes as being high or low, as in “Minnie Riperton could really hit the high notes.” In other places, people use a horizontal metaphor instead of a vertical one, talking about musical notes as being thick or thin. Are these spatial metaphors for musical pitch learned or innate?

Cultural Values and the Likelihood of Suicide

In the United States, southern and western states are said to be “honor cultures” in which people are especially courteous but also quick to avenge a social insult. People living in honor states kill themselves at an unusually high rate. Might there be a connection?

How to Estimate a Country's Suicide Rate

What is the suicide rate in Bolivia? Indonesia? Kenya? No one knows because government officials in those countries don’t report official suicide statistics. The lack of reporting is unfortunate because suicidal behavior is a public health problem in some countries. When official statistics are unavailable, is it possible to estimate the suicide rate?

My Path to Happiness May Not Lead You to the Same Place

Counselors and therapists need to consider the so-called “culture-activity fit” of techniques designed to benefit clients.

Do Moral Judgments Depend on Language?

A team of international researchers says people using a foreign language are more likely to make utilitarian decisions when faced with a moral dilemma. What does this mean for people who work at the U.N. or multinational corporations?

Japan Is a Loser’s Paradise

If you lose your wallet, camera, cell phone or anything else of value, you stand a much better chance of recovering the item in Tokyo than in New York City.

Does Older Mean Wiser Everywhere?

Many older people have probably lost a step when it comes to certain cognitive functions, but they can take solace in the fact that they’re wiser now—wiser than they used to be and wiser than the typical young person. Right? Well, maybe. It apparently depends a great deal on where you live.