Impact of Culture, Religion & Ethnicity on Personality

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  • 0:00 Impacts on Personality
  • 0:34 Culture and Ethnicity
  • 2:16 Religion
  • 3:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson is going to go over the many ways that culture, religion, and ethnicity interplay with someone's personality. Among other things, you'll learn which cultural groups may have more sociable individuals than others.

Impacts on Personality

Although some people may tend to think that we are fully in control of our personality, the reality is that our personality can be impacted by many things outside of our control. Other people can shape our personality. The environment can alter our personality. Even illnesses and toxins can change our personality. In a similar light, culture, religion, and ethnicity may impact our personality as well. This lesson goes over a few examples that highlight this.

Culture and Ethnicity

One great example of the way culture can influence personality is to look at cultures that are more individualistic and those that are more collectivistic. People in individualistic cultures tend to be more often idiocentric, or interested in their own ways. Those in collectivist cultures tend to be more often allocentric, which is when they focus their attention on others instead.

Individuals who are more idiocentric may be more likely to display the following characteristics to their personalities:

  • Emotional distance
  • Competitiveness
  • Self-reliance
  • Higher self-esteem

Individuals who are more allocentric, on the other hand, may be more likely to display other characteristics, such as:

  • Sociability
  • Empathy
  • A lower self-esteem
  • Ease of embarrassment

Even within a collectivistic or individualistic cultural or ethnic group, there can be differences in personalities. For example, collectivism can be vertical in nature, as per India, or horizontal in nature, as per the Israeli kibbutz. People in vertical collectivist cultures may be more likely to be submissive to authority and more conventional in their ways. Horizontal collectivist culture and ethnic groups have empathetic, cooperative, and sociable traits to them.

Ethnicity can also influence our personality; specifically, the way an individual's personality is perceived. For example, one study showed that when compared to Germans, Chinese individuals are more likely to forgive deceit if it protects someone's self-respect. And travelers may notice that Americans tend to have more superior and proud aspects to their personalities, whereas Japanese individuals have more respectful personalities.

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