How much does culture change who we are and how we behave?


Some interesting examples from The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement:

  • Plays written and produced in Germany are three times as likely to have tragic or unhappy endings than plays written and produced in the United States.
  • Half of all people in India and Pakistan say they would marry without love, but only 2 percent of people in Japan would do so.
  • Nearly a quarter of Americans say they are often afraid of saying the wrong things in social situations, whereas 65 percent of all Japanese say they are often afraid.
  • In their book Drunken Comportment, Craig MacAndrew and Robert B. Edgerton found that in some cultures drunken men get into fights, but in some cultures they almost never do. In some cultures drunken men grow more amorous, but in some cultures they do not.
  • Researchers from the University of Florida observed couples having coffee in different cities around the world. In London, couples rarely touch each other. In Paris, 110 touches were observed per coffee. In San Juan, Puerto Rico, it was 180.
  • Cities in the South are twice as likely to have words like “gun” in their names (Gun Point, Florida), whereas cities in the North are more than twice as likely to have words like “joy” in their names.

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