Portrait of Professor Ayse K Uskul

Professor Ayse K Uskul

Professor of Social Psychology

About

Ayse is a Professor of Social Psychology in the School of Psychology.

Key publications

  • Uskul, A. K., & Cross, S. (2019). The social and cultural psychology of honour: What have we learned from researching honour in Turkey? European Review of Social Psychology, 30, 39-73. 
  • Uskul, A., Cross, S., Gunsoy, C., & Gul, P. (2019). Cultures of honor. In S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of cultural psychology (pp. 793-821). New York: The Guilford Press.
  • Over, H., & Uskul, A. K.* (2016). Culture moderates children's responses to ostracism situations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110, 710-724. (*joint first authors)
  • Uskul, A. K., & Over, H. (2014). Responses to social exclusion in cultural context: Evidence from farming and herding communities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 752-771.
  • Cross, S., Uskul, A. K., Gercek-Swing, B., Sunbay, Z., Ataca, B., & Karakitapoglu Z. (2014). Cultural prototypes and dimensions of honor. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 232-249. 

Grants and Awards

2019-2024European Research Council Consolidator Grant
The Cultural Logic of Honor and Human Social Interaction: A Cross-Cultural Comparison
€1,998,694
2018-2020Newton International Fellowship (via the British Academy)
(to Mehmet Veysel Elgin – Uskul: Co-Applicant)
£99,000
2018Invitational Fellowship, Japan Society for Promotion ScienceJPY 924,000
2015-2018Ayse Uskul with Susan Cross - Iowa State University
National Science Foundation, Social Psychology Program Division
Honor as Goal Pursuit in Turkey and Northern and Southern US
$589,947
2014European Association for Social Psychology Small Group Meeting Competition 
Culture and Psychology: Insights from the European Context
€4,000
2013-2014British Institute at Ankara
Effects of Being Ignored vs. Slandered as Forms of Social Exclusion: Evidence from the Black Sea Region
£4,960
2013-2014British Academy MidCareer Fellowship£86,465
2011-2012The Leverhulme Trust Research Grant
Promotion of Healthy Eating using Visual Perspectives in Mental Imagery
£79,985
2010-2012Economic and Social Research Council
Promotion of Dental Care using Visual Perspectives in Mental Imagery: A Cultural Approach 
£92,343
2010-2014David Atkins, Ayse Uskul Supervisor
Economic and Social Research Council PhD Studentship
1+3 Scheme
£13,290 (per annum)
2010British Academy Conference Support Grant
Debating Honour in the Context of Group and Gender Relations, the Self and Aggression
£9,308
2010European Association for Social Psychology Small Group Meeting Competition
Debating Honour in the Context of Group and Gender Relations, the Self and Aggression
€4,000
2010-2011British Academy Small Research Grant
Economic Basis of Social Behaviour: Childrearing Practices, Sensitivity to Ostracism and Conceptions of Honour among Farmers and Herders
£7,269
2007-2012Ayse Uskul with Susan Cross - Iowa State University
National Science Foundation, Social Psychology Program Division
Cultural Construction of Honour in Turkey and the U.S
$193,631
2007-2008British Academy Small Research Grant
Modes of Subsistence and Socio-Cognitive Processes
£7,342
2007-2008Research Promotion Fund, University of Essex
Response Format Effects on Survey Responses across Cultures
£6,835
2006Summer Research Fund, Culture and Cognition Program
University of Michigan
$2,750

Research interests

Ayse's primary research interests concern how different cultural settings shape social cognition, conceptions of self, and interpersonal relationships. Her current research is organised around three major themes:

  • Socio-economic basis of interdependence
    The goal of this project, funded by two British Academy grants, is to investigate how economic activities that encourage different degrees of social interdependence shape cognitive and social functioning.
  • Cultural conceptions of honour
    In this comparative project, funded by the National Science Foundation, Ayse is investigating the cultural variations in the salience and forms of honour and emotional and behavioural responses to honour-relevant situations.
  • Culture and health behaviour change
    This line of work, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Leverhulme Trust, integrates research evidence in social, cultural and health psychology to test novel strategies in health behaviour change.

In addition, Ayse is interested in the role of self-regulatory mechanisms in social cognition (e.g. processing of messages), social interaction (e.g., aggression), and mental well-being, as well as social/cultural psychological processes in question comprehension and responding in survey contexts. She welcomes applications from prospective PhD students who are interested in questions related to these areas of research.

Supervision

Current research students

Past research students

  • Pelin Gul (School of Psychology Departmental Studentship): Masculine honour leads to greater reputational concerns about gender conformity
  • Courtney Allen: Exploring out-group dating preferences and the beneficial effects of intercultural romantic relationships
  • David Atkins (ESRC): Culture and empathy
  • Chanki Moon: Cultural differences in responses to hierarchical pressures: comparing Korea and the United Kingdom

Visiting scholars

  • Ángel Sanchez Rodriguez (University of Granada)
  • Chanki Moon

Professional

Special issue editing

  • Co-editor (with S. Oishi) of special issue on 'Socio-Ecological Psychology’ in Current Opinion in Psychology, April 2020. 
  • Co-editor (with V. Benet-Martinez, B. Mesquita, and M. Gobel) of special issue on 'Europe’s culture(s): Negotiating cultural meanings, values, and identities in the European context', Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, July 2018.
  • Co-editor (with Patricia Mosquera Rodriguez & Susan Cross) of special issue on social image, European Journal of Social Psychology, June 2011.

Other editing

  • Associate Editor: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, IRGP (2017-2020) 
  • Associate Editor: Psychological Science (2016-2020) 
  • Associate Editor: European Journal of Social Psychology (2015-2017)
  • Associate Editor: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (2013-2016)
  • Editorial board member:
    • European Review of Social Psychology (2019-)
    • Asian Journal of Social Psychology (2014-)
    • Culture and Brain (2012-)
    • In-Mind Magazine (2012-2018)
    • Frontiers in Cultural Psychology (2010-2017)
    • European Journal of Social Psychology (2010-2015)
    • Psychology and Health (2008-)

Grant reviewing/panel membership

  • Member of the GM 3 Fellowship panel on Psychology, Pedagogy, Didactics and Social Work, Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Belgium (2020-2023) 
  • Member of the ESRC Peer Review College (2012-)
  • Member of the International Collective of Expert Reviewers, The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (2011-)
  • Member of the Ethnicity Strand Advisory Committee of the UK Household Longitudinal Survey (2010-)

External examiner 

Ayse has been external examiner for PhD theses at University College London, University of Leeds, Queen's University Belfast, University of Sussex, University of Surrey, University of Plymouth (all in the UK), University of Melbourne (Australia), University of British Columbia (Canada), University of Granada (Spain), University of Maastricht (Netherlands) and Katholieke University Leuven (Belgium). 

Selected symposia and meetings organized

  • 2018 Lead organizer of symposium 'How do members of honor cultures respond to challenges? Implications for multicultural societies' at the 24th International Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, Guelph, Canada.
  • 2017 Co-organizer of symposium 'Cultural and Situational Factors Related to Perceptions of Gender-Based Violence: Honor, Manhood Beliefs, and Labelling' at the 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology, Granada, Spain
  • 2016 Organizer of symposium 'Economic Environment as Part of Our Ecology: Its Role in Who We Are, How We Think, and What We Do' at the 23rd International Congress of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Nayoga, Japan
  • 2015 Organizer of symposium 'A socioecological approach to human psychology: On the role of the objective environment in psychological processes' at the 1st International Convention of Psychological Science, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • 2014 Co-organizer of Small Group Meeting 'Culture and Psychology: Insights from the European Context' funded by the European Association of Social Psychology
  • 2014 Organizer of symposium 'The Role of Social and Economic Interdependence in Responses to Social Exclusion' at the 53th Annual Meeting of Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). Austin, Texas, USA

Publications

Showing 50 of 77 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.

Article

  • Uskul, A., & Cross, S. (2020). Socio-ecological roots of cultures of honor. Current Opinion in Psychology, 32, 177-180. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.11.001
    Social psychological research on honour has been growing rapidly in the last decade and increasing our understanding of cross-cultural differences in a variety of psychological processes. This growing interest in honor has stimulated research designed to examine the origins of honor cultures which is increasingly adopting creative methodologies to tackle the difficulty associated with studying causes of cultural syndromes that are rooted macro-level structures such as politics, economics, and religion. In this review, we briefly summarize this research as inspiring examples that can be adopted to examine socio-ecological roots of other cultural dimensions commonly used to explain cultural differences in psychological processes.
  • Uskul, A., & Oishi, S. (2020). What is socio-ecological psychology?. Current Opinion in Psychology, 32, 181-184. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2020.01.001
  • Ko, A., Pick, C., Kwon, J., Barlev, M., Krems, J., Varnum, M., Neel, R., Peysha, M., Boonyasiriwat, W., BrandstätterE., Cruz Vasquez, J., Galindo, O., David, D., Pereira de Felipe, R., Crispim, A., Fetvadijev, V., Fischer, R., Karl, J., Galdi, S., Gomez-Jacinto, L., Grossman, I., Gul, P., Hamamura, T., Han, S., Hitokoto, H., HřebíčkováM., Graf, S., Lee Johnson, J., Malanchuk, O., Murata, A., Na, J., O, J., Rizwan, M., Roth, E., Salgado Salgado, S., Sevincer, A., Stanciu, A., Suh, E., Talhelm, T., Uskul, A., Uz, I., Zambrano, D., & Kenrick, D. (2020). Family matters: rethinking the psychology of human social motivation. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15, 173-201. doi:10.1177/1745691619872986
    What motives do people prioritize in their social lives? Historically, social psychologists, especially those adopting an evolutionary perspective, have devoted a great deal of research attention to sexual attraction and romantic partner choice (mate-seeking). Research on long-term familial bonds (mate retention and kin care) has been less thoroughly connected to relevant comparative and evolutionary work on other species, and in the case of kin care, less well researched. Examining varied sources of data from 27 societies around the world, we found that people generally view familial motives as primary in importance, and mate-seeking motives as relatively low in importance. College students, single people, and males place relatively higher emphasis on mate-seeking, but even those samples rated kin care motives as more important. Further, motives linked to long-term familial bonds are positively associated with psychological well-being, but mate-seeking motives are associated with anxiety and depression. We address theoretical and empirical reasons why there has been extensive research on mate-seeking, and why people prioritize goals related to long-term familial bonds over mating goals. Reallocating relatively greater research effort toward long-term familial relationships would likely yield many interesting new findings relevant to everyday people’s highest social priorities.
  • Günsoy, C., Joo, M., Cross, S., Uskul, A., Gul, P., Wasti, S., Salter, P., Haugen, A., Erdaş, K., & Yegin, A. (2020). The influence of honor threats on goal delay and goal derailment: A comparison of Turkey, Southern US, and Northern US. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 88. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2020.103974
    Honor means having a good reputation (e.g., being known as an honest person) and self-respect (e.g., being proud of one's own competence). In honor cultures (e.g., Turkey, Southern U.S.), people are more sensitive to threats to their moral reputation (e.g., being called a liar) than in dignity cultures (e.g., Northern U.S.), and they respond more strongly to these threats to restore their damaged reputation. Taking a goal conflict approach, we propose that among members of honor cultures, restoration of honor in response to a morality threat can become a superordinate goal, and can result in the neglect or derailment of other goals. In two experiments (n = 941), participants from Turkey (a non-Western honor culture), the U.S. South (a Western honor culture), and the U.S. North (a dignity culture) received a morality threat (accusation of dishonesty), a competence threat (accusation of poor writing ability), or neutral feedback. As predicted, participants from honor cultures, but not the dignity culture, were more likely to delay their subsequent goals after receiving a threat to their moral reputation (vs. competence threat or neutral conditions; Study 1). Moreover, Turkish participants were more likely to display goal derailment after receiving a morality threat compared to a competence threat, but there was no difference in responses to the two types of threat among the U.S. Northerners or Southerners (Study 2). This research is the first to examine honor using a goal conflict framework and to conduct laboratory experiments in two honor cultures.
  • Moon, C., Uskul, A., & Weick, M. (2019). Cultural differences in politeness as a function of status relations: Comparing South Korean and British communicators. Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, 3, 137-145. doi:10.1002/jts5.40
    Although politeness is an important concern in communications across cultures, a prevalent assumption in psychology is that East Asians are more inclined to be polite than members of other cultural groups due to prevalent cultural norms. Yet, evidence for this assumption is mixed. The present research examined this issue by considering the role of social hierarchy in interpersonal communications of Korean and British participants (N = 220) using an experimental task that involved writing an email to decline a request made by a junior or a senior person. The results showed that Korean participants’ emails were more polite when addressing a senior colleague compared with a junior colleague in work contexts. In contrast, recipient status did not impact British participants’ politeness. Crucially, cultural differences in politeness only emerged when participants addressed a senior colleague, but not when participants addressed a junior colleague. We discuss the implications of these findings and directions for future research.
  • Gul, P., & Uskul, A. (2019). Men’s perceptions and emotional responses to becoming a caregiver father: The role of individual differences in masculine honor ideals and reputation concerns. Frontiers in Psychology: Personality and Social Psychology, 10, 1442. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01442
    Despite the rising number of men and women in counter-stereotypical roles, primary caregiver fathers and primary breadwinner mothers is a rare role division within families with dependent children. Previous analyses suggest that men’s lower contribution to childcare is due to their lack of interest in performing these tasks, which are primarily influenced by stereotypical expectations and men’s concern with reputation threat. Drawing our predictions from social role theory, shifting standards model, and masculine honor theories, in two studies conducted with British participants (N = 412), we examined people’s judgments of male and female targets who are caregivers and breadwinners, and their evaluative reactions to these targets. We further examined the moderating role of a perceiver characteristic – endorsement of masculine honor ideals – and the role of potential mediators of these relationships. Study 1 showed that male caregivers were rated higher on communal traits than female caregivers, and female breadwinners higher on agentic traits than male breadwinners, indicating gender stereotyping effects through mental shifts to within-sex judgement standards. Studies 1 and 2 showed that men reacted with more negative and less positive emotions to male caregivers (vs. breadwinners) as their endorsement of masculine honor ideals increased. Moderated mediation results of Study 2 further showed that higher endorsement of masculine honor ideals was linked with less positive and more negative emotional reactions to being a caregiver (vs. breadwinner), which was driven by perceived loss of reputation among male friends, whereas lower endorsement of masculine honor ideals was linked with more positive and less negative emotional reactions to being a caregiver (vs. breadwinner), which was driven by perceived gain of wife’s admiration. These findings offer nuanced explanations for why some men may react negatively whereas others may react positively to serving as caregiver fathers, when the stereotyped expectations are still in operation in society.
  • Gunsoy, C., Cross, S., Uskul, A., & Gercek-Swing, B. (2019). The role of culture in appraisals, emotions, and helplessness in response to threats. International Journal of Psychology. doi:10.1002/ijop.12589
    In honour cultures such as Turkey, reputation management is emphasized, whereas in dignity cultures such as northern US, self-respect and personal achievements are central. Turkey is also a collectivistic culture, where relationship harmony is as important as reputation management. When Turkish people’s reputation is threatened, they may experience an internal conflict between these two motives and display helplessness. In this study, we predicted and found that Turkish participants anticipated stronger anger, shame, and helplessness in response to reputation threat than self-respect threat situations, whereas these differences were non-existent or smaller in northern US. Moreover, shame was a mediator between appraisal and helplessness for reputation threats in Turkey (shame positively predicted helplessness), whereas anger was a mediator between appraisal and helplessness for self-respect threats in northern US (anger negatively predicted helplessness). These results are novel in their inclusion of helplessness and appraisal theory of emotions when examining honour and dignity cultures.
  • Uskul, A., & Ryan, M. (2019). Time out!. British Academy Review, 35, 54-57. Retrieved from https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/publications/british-academy-review/35/time-out
  • Uskul, A., & Cross, S. (2019). The social and cultural psychology of honour: What have we learned from researching honour in Turkey?. European Review of Social Psychology, 30, 39-73. doi:10.1080/10463283.2018.1542903
    A growing literature in social and cultural psychology has examined cultures of honour primarily focusing on southern states in the US and on Mediterranean countries of southern Europe. In this article, we review a programme of research that has extended theories of cultures of honour to an under-researched context: Turkey. We first describe research that assessed lay reports of the situations that enhance or attack a person’s honour and lay prototypes of honour. Next, we review research that built on this foundation and examined emotional implications, actual retaliatory responses, and preferences for different types of actions (e.g., attack vs. withdrawal) in the face of honour threats. We then briefly comment on our current research focused on the ways that honour threats can impede goal pursuit, on the distinction between different types of honour threats, and on acculturation processes in immigrant groups from cultures of honour. We conclude by highlighting the contributions of this programme of research to the literature on cultures of honour and discuss future directions. (167 words)
  • Allen, C., & Uskul, A. (2019). Preference for dating out-group members: Not the same for all outgroups and cultural backgrounds. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 68, 55-66. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2018.11.002
    The goal of the present study was to examine dating preferences across three different out-group backgrounds (race/culture/ethnic, religious, socio-economic status) in three different cultural settings (the United Kingdom, the United States, India). A second goal was to explore the role of social psychological factors (social approval, social identity, previous dating experience) in out-group dating preferences. Findings from an online study (nUK = 227, nUS = 245, nIndia = 220) revealed that participants were less willing to date individuals from religious out-groups than individuals from other race/culture/ethnic or socio-economic status out-groups. Individuals’ perceptions of approval from friends and family positively predicted out-group dating preference for all backgrounds and samples. How much individuals identified with their in-groups and whether they have previous experience dating someone from an out- group varied across outgroup backgrounds and samples in predicting out-group dating preferences. Together, the findings provide valuable insight into intergroup relations and reveal the importance of studying out-group dating preferences across different out-group backgrounds and samples.
  • Moon, C., Travaglino, G., & Uskul, A. (2018). Social value orientation and endorsement of horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism: An exploratory study. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2262-2262. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02262
    Individuals’ cultural tendencies of horizontal/vertical individualism and collectivism interact with their dispositional traits and contextual factors to shape social interactions. A key dispositional trait is social value orientation (SVO), a general tendency towards competition (proself) vs. cooperation (prosocial) in social exchanges. The present study (N = 1032) explored the relationship between SVO and personal cultural tendencies of horizontal/vertical individualism and collectivism in two different cultural settings, the US (a vertical individualist setting) and South Korea (a vertical collectivistic setting). We hypothesized that each value orientation would be associated with the congruent personal cultural tendency across settings. We further hypothesized that this association would be specific to the context, so that SVO would play a more relevant role where the cultural theme was less dominant. Results indicated that, across contexts, proself individuals endorsed vertical individualistic values more strongly than prosocial individuals. Conversely, prosocial individuals endorsed horizontal collectivistic values more strongly than proself individuals. In addition, the effect of SVO was different in the two cultural contexts. Compared to proself individuals, prosocial individuals endorsed horizontal collectivism more strongly in the US context, and horizontal individualism less strongly in the Korea context. Theoretical implications and limitations of the findings, as well as directions for future work are discussed.
  • Gobel, M., Benet-Martinez, V., Mesquita, B., & Uskul, A. (2018). Europe’s culture(s): Negotiating cultural meanings, values, and identities in the European context. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 49, 858-867. doi:10.1177/0022022118779144
    The intent of this Special Issue is to be a starting point for a broadly-defined European cultural psychology. Across seven research articles, the authors of this Special Issue explore what European culture(s) and European identity entail, how acculturation within the European cultural contexts takes place and under what conditions a multicultural Europe might be possible. The special Issue also discusses what is currently missing from the research agenda. Therein, the findings of this Special Issue constitute an important starting point for future psychological research that accompanies Europe along its journey into the 21st century.
  • Moon, C., Weick, M., & Uskul, A. (2018). Cultural variation in individual’s responses to incivility by colleagues of different rank: The role of descriptive and injunctive norms. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48, 472-489. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2344
    The present research sought to establish how cultural settings create a normative context that determines individuals' reactions to subtle forms of mistreatment. Two experimental studies (n = 449) examined individuals' perceptions of high‐ and low‐ranking individuals' incivility in two national (Study 1) and two organizational (Study 2) cultural settings that varied in power distance. Consistent across studies, the uncivil actions of a high‐ranking perpetrator were deemed more acceptable than the uncivil actions of a low‐ranking perpetrator in the large power distance cultural settings, but not in the small power distance cultural settings. Differing injunctive norms (acceptability), but not descriptive norms (perceived likelihood of occurrence), contributed to cultural variations in the level of discomfort caused by incivility. In addition, perceptions of descriptive and injunctive norms coincided, but differed markedly in their associations with discomfort. We discuss the practical and theoretical implications of these findings.
  • Moon, C., Uskul, A., & Weick, M. (2018). On culture, ethics and hierarchy: How cultural variations in hierarchical relations are manifested in the code of ethics of British and Korean organizations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 48, 15-27. doi:10.1111/jasp.12486
    The present research examined if cultural differences in the extent to which hierarchical relations dictate individuals’ behaviors are embedded in objective institutional regulations. Using quantitative and qualitative analysis, we examined codes of ethics of Korean and British organizations in relation to working relationships and corruptive behaviors. We found that, unlike British organizations, Korean organizations endorsed codes of ethics that place greater emphasis on hierarchical relations and contained prescriptions for individuals occupying senior or junior ranks. Ethical codes also appeared to be geared more towards preventing the abuse of power in Korean organizations compared with British organizations. Finally, unlike British organizations, Korean organizations often permitted top-down exchanges (not bottom-up exchanges), suggesting that in upper echelons benevolence may be more normative in Korean organizations than in British organizations.
  • Manfredo, M., Bruskotter, J., Teel, T., Fulton, D., Oishi, S., Uskul, A., Redford, K., Schwartz, S., Arlinghaus, R., Kitayama, S., & Sullivan, L. (2017). Revisiting the challenge of intentional value shift: reply to Ives and Fischer. Conservation Biology, 31, 1486-1487. doi:10.1111/cobi.13026
  • Rennie, L., & Uskul, A. (2017). Encouraging bigger-picture thinking in an intervention to target multiple obesogenic health behaviours. Appetite, 118, 144-148. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2017.08.003
    Research has shown that use of the third-person perspective to visualise a behaviour results in increased motivation to engage in the behaviour relative to the first-person perspective. This effect is claimed to operate in part because the third-person perspective leads the individual to “see the bigger picture”, linking the visualised behaviour to broader goals and identities. Reasoning that this effect could be harnessed to encourage engaging in multiple behaviours that serve the same broader goal, the present study manipulated the visual perspective participants used to imagine themselves exercising, and assessed effects on cognitions and behaviour related to both exercising and healthy eating. Baseline exercise levels were measured and explored as a moderation effect. As predicted, it was found that for participants who engaged in more exercise at baseline, visualising exercise using the third-person perspective resulted in them reporting stronger intentions to exercise and taking more leaflets showing local exercise classes. For those who engaged in less exercise at baseline, there was no effect of perspective. In terms of eating, there was a main effect of perspective, such that participants who imagined themselves exercising using the third-person perspective ate significantly less chocolate than those who used the first-person perspective, irrespective of baseline exercise levels. These results suggest that use of third-person perspective visualisation can be used to encourage engagement in multiple behaviours that serve the same broad goal, which may serve as an intervention technique that will be especially helpful for health outcomes with multiple contributing behaviours, such as obesity and overweight.
  • Manfredo, M., Bruskotter, J., Teel, T., Fulton, D., Schwartz, S., Arlinghaus, R., Oishi, S., Uskul, A., Redford, K., Kitayama, S., & Sullivan, L. (2017). Why social values cannot be changed for the sake of conservation. Conservation Biology, 31, 772-780. doi:10.1111/cobi.12855
    The hope for creating widespread change in social values has endured among conservation professionals since early calls by Aldo Leopold for a “land ethic.” However, there has been little serious attention in conservation to the fields of investigation that address values, how they are formed, and how they change. We introduce a social–ecological systems conceptual approach in which values are seen not only as motivational goals people hold but also as ideas that are deeply embedded in society’s material culture, collective behaviors, traditions, and institutions. Values define and bind groups, organizations, and societies; serve an adaptive role; and are typically stable across generations. When abrupt value changes occur, they are in response to substantial alterations in the social–ecological context. Such changes build on prior value structures and do not result in complete replacement. Given this understanding of values, we conclude that deliberate efforts to orchestrate value shifts for conservation are unlikely to be effective. Instead, there is an urgent need for research on values with a multilevel and dynamic view that can inform innovative conservation strategies for working within existing value structures. New directions facilitated by a systems approach will enhance understanding of the role values play in shaping conservation challenges and improve management of the human component of conservation.
  • Uskul, A., & Over, H. (2017). Culture, social interdependence, and ostracism. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26, 371-376. doi:10.1177/0963721417699300
    Recent research has demonstrated that cultural groups differ in how they experience ostracism and in how they
    behave in the wake of being ostracized. We review this literature paying particular attention to the role that one key
    cultural variable, social interdependence, plays in moderating responses to ostracism. Although the data present a
    complex picture, a growing number of studies have suggested that collectivistic cultures and high levels of social
    interdependence are associated with less negative responses to ostracism. We review explanations for observed cultural
    and individual-level differences in responses to ostracism and make a series of suggestions for future research that, we
    hope, will disambiguate current findings and offer a more nuanced picture of ostracism and the significance of cultural
    variation inherent within it.
  • Weick, M., Vasiljevic, M., Uskul, A., & Moon, C. (2017). Stuck in the heat or stuck in the hierarchy? Power relations explain regional variations in violence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40. doi:10.1017/S0140525X1600114X
    We contend that an ecological account of violence and aggression requires consideration of societal and cultural settings. Focusing on hierarchical relations, we argue countries with higher (vs. lower) power distance are, on average, located closer to the equator, have more challenging climates (i.e., higher temperature; lower temperature variation) and a greater prevalence of violence and aggression (i.e., higher homicide rates).
  • Paulmann, S., & Uskul, A. (2017). Early and late brain signatures of emotional prosody among individuals with high versus low power. Psychophysiology, 54, 555-565. doi:10.1111/psyp.12812
    Using ERPs, we explored the relationship between social power and emotional prosody processing. In particular, we investigated differences at early and late processing stages between individuals primed with high or low power. Comparable to previously published findings from nonprimed participants, individuals primed with low power displayed differentially modulated P2 amplitudes in response to different emotional prosodies, whereas participants primed with high power failed to do so. Similarly, participants primed with low power showed differentially modulated amplitudes in response to different emotional prosodies at a later processing stage (late ERP component), whereas participants primed with high power did not. These ERP results suggest that high versus low power leads to emotional prosody processing differences at the early stage associated with emotional salience detection and at a later stage associated with more in-depth processing of emotional stimuli.
  • Over, H., & Uskul, A. (2016). Culture moderates children’s responses to ostracism situations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110, 710-724. doi:10.1037/pspi0000050
    Across a series of studies, we investigate cultural differences in children’s responses to ostracism situations. Working with the children of farmers and herders, we focus on how painful children estimate ostracism to be. Study 1a showed that that 3- to 8-year-old children from a socially interdependent farming community estimated ostracism to be less painful than did children from an independent herding community. Study 1b showed that this cultural difference was specific to social pain and did not apply to physical pain. Study 2 replicated the results of Study 1a and showed that individual differences in parents’ level of social interdependence mediated the relationship between cultural group and how painful children estimate ostracism to be. Study 3 replicated this effect again and showed that children’s tendency to recommend seeking social support following ostracism mediated the relationship between cultural group and the perceived pain of being excluded. Finally, Study 4 investigated cultural differences in moral responses to ostracism and showed that children from the farming community punished an individual who ostracised someone else less harshly than did children from the independent herding community. Thus different economic cultures are associated with striking differences in social interdependence and responses to ostracism from early in development.
  • Atkins, D., Uskul, A., & Cooper, N. (2016). Culture shapes empathic responses to physical and social pain. Emotion, 16, 587-601. doi:10.1037/emo0000162
    The present research investigates the extent to which cultural background moderates empathy in response to observing someone undergoing physical or social pain. In three studies, we demonstrate that, East Asian and White British participants differ in both affective and cognitive components of their empathic reactions in response to someone else’s pain. Compared with East Asian participants, British participants report greater empathic concern and show lower empathic accuracy. Importantly, findings cannot be explained by an in-group advantage effect. Potential reasons for observed cultural differences are discussed.
  • Uskul, A., Paulmann, S., & Weick, M. (2016). Social power and recognition of emotional prosody : High power is associated with lower recognition accuracy than low power. Emotion, 16, 11-15. doi:10.1037/emo0000110
    Listeners have to pay close attention to a speaker’s tone of voice (prosody) during daily conversations. This is particularly important when trying to infer the emotional state of the speaker. While a growing body of research has explored how emotions are processed from speech in general, little is known about how psycho-social factors such as social power can shape the perception of vocal emotional attributes. Thus, the present studies explored how social power affects emotional prosody recognition. In a correlational (Study 1) and an experimental study (Study 2), we show that high power is associated with lower accuracy in emotional prosody recognition than low power. These results, for the first time, suggest that individuals experiencing high or low power perceive emotional language differently.
  • Betsch, C., Böhm, R., Airhihenbuwa, C., Butler, R., Chapman, G., Haase, N., Herrmann, B., Igarashi, T., Kitayama, S., Korn, L., Nurm, Ü, Rohrmann, B., Rothman, A., Shavitt, S., Updegraff, J., & Uskul, A. (2015). Improving medical decision making through culture-sensitive health communication – An agenda for science and practice. Medical Decision Making, 36, 811-833. doi:10.1177/0272989X15600434
    This review introduces the concept of culture-sensitive health communication. The basic premise is that congruency between the recipient’s cultural characteristics and the respective message will increase the communication’s effectiveness. Culture-sensitive health communication is therefore defined as the deliberate and evidence-informed adaptation of health communication to the recipients’ cultural background in order to increase knowledge and improve decision preparedness in medical decision making, and to enhance the persuasiveness of messages in health promotion. To achieve effective health communication in varying cultural contexts, an empirically and theoretically based understanding of culture will be indispensable. We therefore define culture, discuss which evolutionary and structural factors contribute to the development of cultural diversity, and how differences are conceptualized as scientific constructs in current models of cultural differences. Additionally, we will explicate the implications of cultural differences for psychological theorizing, because common constructs of health behavior theories and decision making, such as attitudes or risk perception, are subject to cultural variation. In terms of communication we will review both communication strategies as well as channels that are used to disseminate health messages, and discuss the implications of cultural differences for their effectiveness. Finally, we propose both an agenda for science as well as for practice to advance and apply the evidence base for culture-sensitive health communication. This calls for more interdisciplinary research: between science and practice, but also between scientific disciplines and between basic and applied research.
  • Adams, C., Rennie, L., Uskul, A., & Appleton, K. (2015). Visualizing future behavior: Effects for snacking on biscuit bars, but no effects for snacking on fruit. Journal of Health Psychology, 20, 1037-1048.
    Participants (N=223) were randomized to: visualise snacking on fruit; visualise snacking on biscuit bars; or no visualisation; and intentions and attitudes towards fruit and biscuit bars, immediate selection of fruit or biscuit bars, and subsequent consumption were measured. No effects of visualising snacking on fruit were found once background variables were taken into account. Visualising snacking on biscuit bars however resulted in greater intentions to consume biscuit bars. No other effects were found. These findings suggest that specifics of the visualised target behaviour may be important in visualisation. Further investigation is needed before recommending visualisation for increasing fruit consumption.
  • Uskul, A., Cross, S., Gunsoy, C., Gercek-Swing, B., Alozkan, C., & Ataca, B. (2015). A price to pay: Turkish and American retaliation for threats to personal and family honor. Aggressive Behavior, 41, 594-607.
    Two studies investigated retaliatory responses to actual honor threats among members of an honor culture (Turkey) and a dignity culture (northern U.S.). The honor threat in these studies was based on previous research which has shown that honesty is a key element of the conception of honor and that accusations of dishonesty are threatening to one’s honor. In both studies, participants wrote an essay describing the role of honesty in their lives and received feedback on their essay accusing them of being dishonest (vs. neutral feedback). Turkish participants retaliated more strongly than did northern U.S. participants against the person who challenged their honesty by assigning him/her to solve more difficult tangrams over easy ones (Study 1) and by choosing sensory tasks of a higher level of intensity to complete (Study 2). Study 2 added a relational honor condition, in which participants wrote about honesty in their parents’ lives and examined the role of individual differences in honor values in retaliation. Endorsement of honor values predicted retaliation among Turkish participants in both the personal and relational honor conditions, but not among northern U.S. participants.
  • Klein, N., Grossman, I., Uskul, A., Kraus, A., & Epley, N. (2015). It pays to be nice, but not really nice: Asymmetric evaluations of prosociality across seven cultures. Judgment and Decision Making, 10, 355-364.
    Cultures differ in many important ways, but one trait appears to be universally valued: prosociality. For one’s reputation, around the world, it pays to be nice to others. However, recent research with American participants finds that evaluations of prosocial actions are asymmetric—relatively selfish actions are evaluated according to the magnitude of selfishness but evaluations of relatively generous actions are less sensitive to magnitude. Extremely generous actions are judged roughly as positively as modestly generous actions, but extremely selfish actions are judged much more negatively than modestly selfish actions (Klein & Epley, 2014). Here we test whether this asymmetry in evaluations of prosociality is culture-specific. Across 7 countries, 1,240 participants evaluated actors giving various amounts of money to a stranger. Along with relatively minor cross-cultural differences in evaluations of generous actions, we find cross-cultural similarities in the asymmetry in evaluations of prosociality. We discuss implications for how reputational inferences can enable the cooperation necessary for successful societies.
  • Gunsoy, C., Cross, S., Uskul, A., Adams, G., & Gercek-Swing, B. (2015). Avoid or fight back? Cultural differences in responses to conflict and the role of collectivism, honor, and enemy perception. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 46, 1081-1102. doi:10.1177/0022022115594252
    We investigated how responses to interpersonal conflict differed across Ghana, Turkey, and the northern US. Due to low levels of interpersonal embeddedness, people from individualistic cultures (northern US) have more freedom to prioritize individual goals and to choose competitive and confrontational responses to conflict compared to people from collectivistic cultures (Turkey, Ghana). Consistent with this idea, we found that northern American participants were less willing to avoid instigators but more willing to retaliate against them compared to other cultural groups. Moreover, in honor cultures like Turkey, there is strong concern for other people’s opinions, and insults are more threatening to personal and family reputation compared to non-honor cultures. Therefore, Turkish participants were less willing to engage in submissive behaviors such as yielding to the instigator. Finally, in Ghana, relationships are more obligatory and enemies are more prominent compared to other cultures. Consistent with our predictions, Ghanaian participants were less willing than Turkish or northern American participants to choose retaliation but more willing to yield to the instigator. Differences in response styles were consistent with dominant cultural values and the cultural nature of interpersonal relationships.
  • Uskul, A., & Kikutani, M. (2014). Concerns about losing face moderate the effect of visual perspective on health-related intentions and behaviors. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 55, 201-209. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2014.07.010
    Visualizing oneself engaging in future actions has been shown to increase the likelihood of actually engaging in the visualized action. In three studies, we examined the effect of perspective taken to visualize a future action (first-person vs. third-person) as a function of the degree to which individuals worry about others’ evaluation of themselves (face) and whether the visualized behavior is public or private. Across all studies, the effect of visual perspective was present only for participants with high level of face. In this group, the third-person visualization induced stronger intentions to engage in the behavior when the imagined behavior was public (Study 1), whereas the first-person visualization induced stronger intentions and greater likelihood to engage in that behavior when it was private (Study 2). The influence of the first-person perspective on flossing behavior was eliminated when people with high levels of face were encouraged to consider inter-personal consequences of the action (Study 3). Results are discussed in the light of recent theorizing on the cognitive consequences of taking a third-person versus a first-person perspective in visual imagery.
  • Uskul, A., & Over, H. (2014). Responses to social exclusion in cultural context: Evidence from farming and herding communities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 752-771. doi:10.1037/a0035810
    In a series of studies, we investigated the role of economic structures (farming vs. herding) and source of ostracism (close other vs. stranger) in social exclusion experiences. We first confirmed that herders rely on strangers to a greater extent than do farmers for economic success (validation study). Next, we verified that farmers and herders understand the concept of ostracism, and its emotional consequences, in similar ways (Study 1). The studies that followed provided converging evidence that cultural group membership shapes sensitivity and responses to social exclusion. Using different methodologies, in Studies 2 and 3, we showed that, whereas the psychological consequences of ostracism by close others are similar for farmers and herders; herders are more strongly affected by ostracism from strangers. The last two studies demonstrated that herders recommend more affiliative responses to ostracism by strangers than do farmers both to those involved in the ostracism event (Study 4) and to naïve individuals (Study 5). Moreover, Study 5 revealed that the amount of time spent with strangers mediated cultural group differences in the extent to which affiliative and aggressive actions are recommended following social exclusion by strangers. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the economic systems on which communities are based shape how their members interact with others and that this, in turn, can shape individuals’ responses to social exclusion.
  • Cross, S., Uskul, A., Gercek-Swing, B., Sunbay, Z., Alözkan, C., Günsoy, C., Ataca, B., & Karakitapo?lu-Aygün, Z. (2014). Cultural prototypes and dimensions of honor. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 232-249. doi:10.1177/0146167213510323
    Research evidence and theoretical accounts of honor point to differing definitions of the construct in differing cultural contexts. The current studies address the question “What is honor?” using a prototype approach in Turkey and the northern US. Studies 1a/1b revealed substantial differences in the specific features generated by members of the two groups, but Studies 2 and 3 revealed cultural similarities in the underlying dimensions of Self-Respect, Moral Behavior, and Social Status/Respect. Ratings of the centrality and personal importance of these factors were similar across the two groups, but their association with other relevant constructs differed. The tri-partite nature of honor uncovered in these studies helps observers and researchers alike understand how diverse responses to situations can be attributed to honor. Inclusion of a prototype analysis into the literature on honor cultures can provide enhanced coverage of the concept that may lead to testable hypotheses and new theoretical developments.
  • Paulmann, S., & Uskul, A. (2014). Cross-cultural emotional prosody recognition: Evidence from Chinese and British listeners. Cognition and Emotion, 28, 230-244. doi:10.1080/02699931.2013.812033
    This cross-cultural study of emotional tone of voice recognition tests the in-group advantage hypothesis (Elfenbein & Ambady, 2002) employing a quasi-balanced design. Individuals of Chinese and British background were asked to recognize pseudo-sentences produced by Chinese and British native speakers, displaying one of seven emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happy, neutral tone of voice, sad, and surprise). Findings revealed that emotional displays were recognized at rates higher than predicted by chance; however, members of each cultural group were more accurate in recognizing the displays communicated by a member of their own cultural group than a member of the other cultural group. Moreover, the evaluation of error matrices indicates that both culture groups relied on similar mechanism when recognizing emotional displays from the voice. Overall, the study reveals evidence for both universal and culture-specific principles in vocal emotion recognition.
  • Rennie, L., Uskul, A., Adams, C., & Appleton, K. (2014). Visualisation for increasing health intentions: Enhanced effects following a health message and when using a first-person perspective. Psychology & Health, 29, 237-252. doi:10.1080/08870446.2013.843685
    The present research explored whether visualising engaging in a health behaviour resulted in increased intentions to engage in that behaviour, when combined with an informational health message. Further, the effects of the visual perspective (first-person vs. third-person) used to visualise the health behaviour were explored. In an online questionnaire study employing a 2 x 3 between-participants experimental design, participants (N = 532) read versus did not read an informational health message about the benefits of increasing fruit consumption, then visualised (from first-person vs. third-person perspective) versus did not visualise themselves increasing their fruit consumption. Intentions to increase fruit consumption were assessed, as were potential mediating variables. The results indicated that visualisation (irrespective of perspective) did not result in increased intentions when it was not combined with the health message. However, when participants had read the health message, visualisation resulted in significantly stronger intentions, and the first-person perspective was significantly more effective than the third-person perspective. The beneficial effect of visualisation, and the first-person perspective, on intentions was mediated by increased self-efficacy and action planning. Findings are discussed in relation to existing research on visualisation and perspective, and in terms of practical applications for health promotion efforts.
  • Uskul, A., & Hynie, M. (2014). The role of self-aspects in emotions elicited by threats to physical health. Psychology & Health, 29, 199-217. doi:10.1080/08870446.2013.843683
    In two studies, we examined the relationship between self-aspects and socially engaging and socially disengaging emotions elicited by imagined and real physical health problems. In Study 1, participants imagined themselves experiencing a health problem described in a hypothetical scenario and rated the extent to which they would experience a list of emotions. The experience of socially engaging emotions such as shame and embarrassment was predicted by the endorsement of collective self. In Study 2, participants recalled a past health problem and emotions they experienced during its course. Again, collective self predicted the extent to which people mentioned socially engaging emotions in their free recall of emotions. Independent self was not related to the imagined experience of socially disengaging emotions in Study 1 or the recollection of such emotions in Study 2.
  • Uskul, A., Cross, S., Alozkan, C., Gercek-Swing, B., Ataca, B., Gunsoy, C., & Sunbay, Z. (2014). Emotional responses to honor situations in Turkey and the northern USA. Cognition and Emotion, 28, 1057-1075. doi:10.1080/02699931.2013.870133
    The main goal of the current research is to investigate emotional reactions to situations that implicate honor in Turkish and northern American cultural groups. In Studies 1a and 1b, participants rated the degree to which a variety of events fit their prototypes for honor-related situations. Both Turkish and American participants evaluated situations generated by their co-nationals as most central to their prototypes of honor-related situations. Study 2 examined emotional responses to Turkish or U.S.-generated situations that varied in centrality to the prototype. Highly central situations and Turkish-generated situations elicited stronger emotions than less central situations and U.S.-generated situations. Americans reported higher levels of positive emotions in response to honor-enhancing situations than did Turkish participants. These findings demonstrate that the prototypes of honor relevant situations differ for Turkish and northern American people, and that Turkish honor relevant situations are more emotion-laden than are northern American honor relevant situations.
  • Uskul, A., Oyserman, D., Schwarz, N., Lee, S., & Xu, A. (2013). How successful you have been in life depends on the response scale used: The role of cultural mindsets in pragmatic inferences drawn from question format. Social Cognition, 31, 222-236. doi:10.1521/soco.2013.31.2.222
    To respond to a question, respondents must make culturally-relevant, context-sensitive pragmatic inferences about what the question means. Participants in a culture of modesty (China), a culture of honor (Turkey) and a culture of positivity (U.S.) rated their own (Study 1) or someone else’s (their parents or people their parents’ age, Study 2) success in life using either a rating scale that implied a continuum from failure to success (-5 to +5) or varying degrees of success (0 to 10). As predicted, culture and rating format interacted with rating target to influence response patterns. Americans, sensitive to the possibility of negativity, rated all targets more positively in the bipolar condition. Chinese were modesty-sensitive, ignoring the implications of the scale, unless rating strangers for whom modesty is irrelevant. Turks were honor-sensitive, rating themselves and their parents more positively in the bipolar scale condition and ignoring scale implications of rating strangers.
  • Cross, S., Uskul, A., Gercek-Swing, B., Alözkan, C., & Ataca, B. (2013). Confrontation vs. withdrawal: Cultural differences in responses to threats to honor. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 16, 345-362. doi:10.1177/1368430212461962
    This study compares evaluations by members of an honor culture (Turkey) and a dignity culture (northern US) of honor threat scenarios, in which a target was the victim of either a rude affront or a false accusation, and the target chose to withdraw or confront the attacker. Turkish participants were more likely than American participants to evaluate positively the person who withdrew from the rude affront and the person who confronted the false accusation. Participants in both societies perceived that others in their society would endorse confrontation more than withdrawal in both types of scenarios, but this effect was larger for Turkish than American participants. Endorsement of honor values positively predicted evaluations of the targets most strongly among Turkish participants who read about a person who confronted their attacker. These findings provide insight into the role of cultural norms and individual differences in the ways honor influences behavior.
  • Uskul, A. (2012). Rethinking innovative designs to further test parasite-stress theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 35, 93-94. doi:10.1017/S0140525X11001051
    Fincher & Thornhill's (F&T's) parasite-stress theory of sociality is supported largely by correlational evidence; its persuasiveness would increase significantly via lab and natural experiments and demonstrations of its mediating role. How the theory is linked to other approaches to group differences in psychological differences and to production and dissemination of cultural ideas and practices, need further clarification. So does the theory's view on the possible reduction of negative group interactions.

Book section

  • Uskul, A., Cross, S., Gunsoy, C., & Gul, P. (2019). Cultures of honor. In S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of Cultural Psychology (pp. 793-821). New York: The Guilford Press. Retrieved from https://www.guilford.com/books/Handbook-of-Cultural-Psychology/Cohen-Kitayama/9781462536238
    Cultures of honor developed in contexts in which a person’s livelihood was easily stolen (such as a herd of animals) and the rule of law was weak. In such contexts, men were required to develop a reputation for toughness and willingness to retaliate quickly and aggressively when threatened, so that others would not consider stealing their property. Consequently, cultures of honor have developed ideologies, norms, and practices that reinforce the importance of maintaining social respect through aggressive means if necessary. In this chapter, we first briefly review the initial work by anthropologists, sociologists and historians that described cultures of honor in the Mediterranean region and southern US states. This early work formed the foundation of research by Nisbett, Cohen, and their colleagues, who carefully articulated a psychological theory of how concerns for honor may explain higher rates of aggression and violence in southern US states compared to northern states. We then summarize research on components of honor, behavioral and psychological consequences of honor, and socialization practices that maintain cultures of honor. We finish by discussing possible future directions and methodological considerations in research on cultures of honor. This research has extended the scope of cultural psychology by going beyond the more common east-west comparisons; it has the potential to help explain behavior of groups that have not been widely studied by social psychologists.
  • Uskul, A., & Over, H. (2018). The role of economic culture in social interdependence: Consequences for social exclusion experiences. In A. K. Uskul & S. Oishi (Eds.), Socioeconomic environment and human psychology: Social, ecological, and cultural perspectives (pp. 33-52). New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from https://global.oup.com/academic/product/socio-economic-environment-and-human-psychology-9780190492908?cc=gb&lang=en&#
    In this chapter, we discuss economic group differences in responses to social exclusion in children and adults. We begin by outlining evidence that different economies give rise to different habits and social practices, and that these habits and social practices lead to differences in the extent to which individuals perceive themselves to be independent from, or interdependent with, others. We then argue that differences in social interdependence are associated with differences in how individuals respond to social exclusion. Drawing on our own research with an interdependent farming community and a more independent herding community, we describe cultural differences in how individuals perceive social exclusion, respond to being excluded, and morally evaluate those who exclude others.
  • Uskul, A., & Oishi, S. (2018). Socioeconomic environment and human psychology: Social, ecological, and cultural perspectives. An Introduction. In A. K. Uskul & S. Oishi (Eds.), Socioeconomic environment and human psychology: Social, ecological, and cultural perspectives (p. xi-xxi). New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from https://global.oup.com/academic/product/socio-economic-environment-and-human-psychology-9780190492908?cc=gb&lang=en&#
  • Uskul, A., & Horn, A. (2015). Emotions and health. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopaedia of social and behavioral sciences. Elsevier.
    Experiencing health problems can produce strong emotional responses that may impact psychological well-being and disease outcome. Also emotional states have been found to be associated with the development of disease. Negative emotions have been found to be associated with health complaints. Conversely, positive emotions have been found to be associated with better health. Emotions may affect health indirectly by influencing behaviors known to be associated with health outcomes or through physiological mechanisms such as physiological reactivity and changes in immune functioning. Approaches for helping people deal more effectively with negative emotions and maximize positive ones are discussed.
  • Uskul, A. (2015). The Role of Economic Culture in Social Relationships and Interdependence. In C. Psaltis, A. Gillespie, & A. Perret-Clermont (Eds.), Social relations in human and societal development (pp. 149-164). Hampshire: Palgrave Publishers. doi:10.1057/9781137400994_9
    In this chapter, Uskul focuses on how the economic environment may shape social interdependence, thereby leading to certain ways of thinking and behaving. Summarizing two lines of research, she discusses the role of social interdependence shaped by economic requirements for consequences for cognitive tendencies in three economic groups (fishermen, herders, and farmers) and for responses to others’ social exclusion experiences among children in two economic communities (farmers and herders). In a third line of research, she highlights the important role that certain individuals play in the economic livelihood of certain groups (e.g., strangers) by demonstrating relevant psychological consequences thereof for responses to social exclusion. The summarized research provides evidence that economic activity, shaped by ecology, is associated with important differences in different aspects of human psychology and contributes to the limited psychological research conducted with understudied communities outside of Western cultural contexts.
  • Lalonde, R., & Uskul, A. (2013). Openness to inter-ethnic relationships for second generation Chinese and South Asian Canadians: The role of Canadian identity. In E. Fong, L.-H. N. Ciang, & N. A. Dento (Eds.), Immigrant adaptation in multi-ethnic societies- Canada, Taiwan, and the United States (pp. 138-158). Routledge.

Edited book

  • Uskul, A. (2018). Socio-Economic Environment and Human Psychology: Social, Ecological, and Cultural Perspectives. (A. K. Uskul & S. Oishi, Eds.). New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from https://global.oup.com/academic/product/socio-economic-environment-and-human-psychology-9780190492908?cc=gb&lang=en&

Thesis

  • Gul, P. (2018). Masculine Honour Leads to Greater Reputational Concerns about Gender Conformity.
    To date, masculine honour beliefs have been studied in the context of insults, threats and moral transgressions, and almost exclusively linked to aggressive emotions (e.g., anger) and behaviour (e.g., fights, confrontations). Here, it is proposed that masculine honour beliefs can also be associated with subtle, withdrawal-related behaviours, such as reluctance to engaging in feminine tasks and befriend feminine men. Furthermore, based on the theory suggesting that manifest indicators of a culture of masculine honour are expressions of individuals' overactive 'reputation maintenance psychology', I tested whether these subtle behaviours are underpinned by reputation maintenance concerns. Using self-report measures and different cultural samples (UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia), the studies reported here as a whole provided evidence for the proposed associations and the reputation maintenance account. Studies 1a-b and 2a-b established an association between masculine honour ideals and men's self-presentations using masculine traits, as well as disfavourable judgments of effeminate men. Studies 3a-b and 4 focused on examining a voluntary relationship decision (choosing to associate oneself with a target as friends) to make reputational issues more salient and demonstrated that men who endorse higher levels of masculine honour beliefs were more reluctant to being friends with effeminate men. Study 4 further showed that this was due to high honour-endorsing men's concerns that being associated with an effeminate man who is perceived as lacking coalitional value would damage their own reputation among male friends. Focusing on the issue of men's disinterest in domestic roles such as child care, Studies 5a-b and 6 demonstrated a relationship between masculine honour beliefs and men's negative feelings (shame, frustration) about being a primary caregiver to their own children and revealed that this is due to high honour-endorsing men's concerns of losing reputation among their male friends, but not due to their wives' reduced appreciation of them. Taken together, these findings extend our understanding of individuals socialized with masculine honour norms, and also offer more nuanced explanations of men's anti-effeminacy bias and disinterest in communal roles.
  • Moon, C. (2016). Cultural Differences in Responses to Hierarchical Pressures.
    Social hierarchy is one of the most fundamental features of human social interaction and has important psychological consequences. How hierarchies function and impact psychological processes, however, varies across cultures. Social interactions in Korea are more hierarchical and collectivistic compared to those in the UK, which are less hierarchical and individualistic. This is reflected in the Power Distance cultural dimension (Hofstede, 1980, 2001), according to which the UK is lower on this dimension than Korea. Social norms enforce hierarchies such as deference, respect, honour and politeness which operate as an invaluable virtue in Korean society. The current research examines consequences of social hierarchy in the UK and Korea and asks the following questions: a) are there any differences between Korea and the UK in terms of how individuals' interactions are governed by the status of the interaction partner; b) how does the impact of rude behaviours exhibited by people occupying different ranks differ in Korea and the UK, focusing on the level of distress caused and individuals' evaluations of the perpetrator; and c) are there any differences between Korea and the UK in terms of how hierarchical relations are embedded in objective organisational prescriptions? Findings from Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that Korean participants' communication was affected to a greater extent by hierarchical relations showing that Korean participants wrote longer emails to decline a request by a senior colleague compared to a junior colleague; in contrast, the length of the emails written by British participants were not affected by the status of the recipient. Furthermore, across three studies (1-3), findings indicated that Koreans (compared with British) found it less stressful and more acceptable to be exposed to uncivil behaviours (rude and discourteous actions) of a senior colleague compared to a junior colleague. Study 4 confirmed that a similar pattern of hierarchical differentiation can be observed in organisations structured vertically (mirroring Korean culture), but not in organisations structured horizontally (mirroring British culture). Furthermore, in Studies 2, 3 and 4, mediational analyses showed that the observed cultural differences in reported levels of hierarchical relational stress (discomfort) can be explained by group differences in prescriptive norms (acceptability), but not by differences in descriptive norms (likelihood of occurrence). Finally, Study 5 examined how hierarchies are manifested in objective institutional regulations in the form of Code of Ethics adopted by Korean and British organisations. Findings revealed that relative to British organisations, Korean organisations endorsed Code of Ethics that places greater emphasis on hierarchical relations, consistent with prevalent cultural values and beliefs. Together, Studies 2 and 3 have highlighted cross-cultural variations in individuals' subjective mental representations of norms related to the behaviours of high and low ranking individuals and Study 5 demonstrated cross-cultural variations in how hierarchies are embedded in objective organisational prescriptions in Korea and the UK. I discuss the implications of these findings for literatures on social hierarchies/status, social norms, organisational behaviour and culture.
  • Atkins, D. (2014). The Role of Culture in Empathy: The Consequences and Explanations of Cultural Differences in Empathy at the Affective and Cognitive Levels.
    Our empathic abilities are central in social interaction and accordingly, our ability to feel and infer others’ emotions is considered crucial for healthy functioning in interpersonal relationships (Blair, 2005; Eisenberg & Miller, 1987). One possible moderator of empathy is cultural background and although there is a wealth of theoretical knowledge to link culture and empathy, there is however, very limited empirical research directly examining the association between the two constructs. In five studies using culture as the principle unit of analysis, the research contained within this thesis has investigated the extent to which culture influences empathy using a variety of methods. Chapter Two reports results from an experimental study which show cultural differences in negative affect in response to physical pain; British reported greater negative affect compared to East Asians. Chapter Three reports results from an experimental study that replicate findings in the preceding chapter to a different type of situation, one that depicts social pain. In addition, results demonstrate greater empathic concern but lower empathic accuracy in British compared to East Asians. Chapter Four reports results from an experimental study that follow a similar pattern to preceding chapters; British report greater empathic concern, but lower empathic accuracy compared to Chinese individuals. In addition, the analyses demonstrate that neither an in-group advantage nor comprehension of video targets can explain cultural differences in affective and cognitive empathy. Emotional expressivity predicts British but not Chinese empathic concern. Chapter Five reports a study that demonstrates that empathic concern explains cultural differences in donating, a measure of prosocial behaviour. Chapter Six reports a study that demonstrates that Americans would side and feel more affective empathy for one friend over the other when the two friends are engaged in an intense disagreement compared to Japanese. These findings are interpreted from a dialectical thinking and interpersonal harmony theoretical framework. The association between dispositional empathy and affective and cognitive empathic outcomes was assessed in all studies to understand the utility of dispositional empathy cross-culturally. Findings regarding dispositional empathy’s utility are mixed but suggest that dispositional empathy is more useful to predict empathy in a Western cultural context, but not as useful in an Eastern cultural context. Chapter Seven considers the implications of the findings reported in the set of studies and explores future directions.

Forthcoming

  • Cross, S., & Uskul, A. (2020). The pursuit of honor: Novel contexts, varied approaches, and new developments. In M. J. Gelfand, C.- yue Chiu, & Y.- yi Hong (Eds.), Advances in Culture and Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Why are people around the world willing to sacrifice for honor? This chapter addresses that question with a focus on the little-researched cultural context of Turkey. When compared to Americans from northern states, Turkish people have richer conceptions of the concept of honor, and they perceive that more situations are imbued with honor-related implications. They respond to honor-relevant situations with more intense emotions and are more sensitive to sharing content in social media that could lead to shame or disrepute. This research replicated previous findings of the link between honor and aggression, and it showed that honor threats impair goal pursuit more among Turkish participants. Turkish participants react more strongly to a charge that they behaved dishonestly (i.e., an honor threat) than to a charge that they were incompetent, compared to northern Americans. This research provides an important extension to previous research focused on the southern states in the U.S.
  • Gul, P., Cross, S., & Uskul, A. (2020). Applied implications of culture of honor theory and research for practitioners and prevention researchers. American Psychologist.
    Since the seminal publication of Nisbett and Cohen in 1996 linking the higher rates of violence in the Southern U.S. compared to the Northern U.S. to a “culture of honor,” researchers have paid increasing attention to conceptualizing honor and identifying its underlying psychological mechanisms and its behavioral outcomes. The concern for reputation and other values embedded in culture of honor act as potential sociocultural risk factors for several major social problems in the U.S. The aim of this article is to review the recent research on culture of honor and to discuss its societal implications by focusing on three pressing social problems: intimate partner aggression, school violence, and reluctance to seek mental health care. Relative to Whites in northern states, White populations in the southern and western states (considered to have cultures of honor) have higher levels of intimate partner violence, more school shootings, and are less likely to seek mental health care. We also briefly review the incidence of these issues among American Latinx groups, another culture of honor. We suggest ways that the scientific findings on culture of honor can enhance prevention and intervention efforts in education, health, and mental health care settings.
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