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October 7, 2005 6:16 AM   Subscribe

Research by dumb, ignorant Yankees on national stereotypes.
posted by Gyan (30 comments total)
Hey, didn't even have to read the article for a dose of stereotypes.
posted by taursir at 6:30 AM on October 7, 2005

taursir: Oh man, That's a riot! I bet the author totally missed that.
posted by phrontist at 6:33 AM on October 7, 2005

A test used is the NEO-PI-R: Neo Personality Inventory – Revised, which "provides a systematic assessment of emotional, interpersonal, experiential, attitudinal, and motivational styles".

Some results:

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posted by Gyan at 6:36 AM on October 7, 2005

I didn't now the average American knew where England, India, Checkoslovakia (etc.) where.

(sorry - couldnt resist)
posted by 13twelve at 6:42 AM on October 7, 2005

I really don't understand those values at ALL... there are higher values in the "lowest NCS scores" than in the "Highest NCS scores" columns... Am I missing something?
posted by antifuse at 6:42 AM on October 7, 2005

NATIONAL character stereotypes such as the reserved and staid Englishman with a stiff upper lip are not founded on even a kernel of truth, according to the most comprehensive international study of its kind.

NATIONAL character stereotypes ... are not founded on even a kernel of truth.

Really? The stereotypes of cold Swedes, efficient Germans, and mean Scotsmen are are not founded on even a kernel of truth. Not even a kernel.
posted by three blind mice at 6:43 AM on October 7, 2005

Well, that's an interesting study. Though I'm confused as to whether this research is statistical, psychological, or anthropological science.

Still, the research seems to assert cultural stereotypes are complete nonsense. Such a claim appears to be patently obvious; which is what I believed, as a person who is a product of this age (post-Generation-X?) and of contemporary American culture.

As a Yankee, though I prefer the colloquial term "Californian," I can testify to being both dumb and ignorant.

Anyway, keep up the interesting studies, researchers.

On Preview: I'm (sad?), (relieved?) to not see the USA appear anywhere on that list?
posted by Colloquial Collision at 6:46 AM on October 7, 2005

Oh! Nevermind! Agreeableness. I can live with that.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 6:47 AM on October 7, 2005

I heard Macrae on the radio yesterday, and he seems totally obtuse. It seems a fundamental design error in his study to derive national stereotypes from a society about itself (i.e. German stereotypes were advanced by Germans, American stereotypes by Americans, etc.)

The stereotypes came into being as other cultures looked at national behaviors in light of their own cultures and values. The study seems to presume that societies are clear-headed about themselves.

This approach seems to be so basic an error, that I the study becomes worthless.
posted by curtm at 6:48 AM on October 7, 2005

curtm: A more fundamental error is inferring that these stereotypes are unfounded. Like Richard Robins says in the MSNBC article:

"Social scientists such as psychologist Richard Robins have proposed several other possible explanations for stereotypes and why they may be inaccurate. In a commentary that accompanies the Science study, Robins notes that some stereotypes may have been accurate at one point in history and then persisted while the culture changed. Or they may have grown out of historical conflicts between cultural groups.

Yet another possibility is that some very specific components of a stereotype may be accurate — for example, Italians may gesture with their hands a lot — but that they don’t necessarily tell us anything more generally about personality.

McCrae's conclusion would be true had these stereotypes emerged in the last two decades or so.
posted by Gyan at 6:53 AM on October 7, 2005

I agree, Colloquial Collision.
posted by sdrawkcab at 6:54 AM on October 7, 2005

As a typical Englishman I have to say I find this sort of typically American navel-gazing frankly embarrassing and not at all quite the thing, old chap. So let's all steady on a bit and not get overexcited, what?
posted by Decani at 7:03 AM on October 7, 2005

Sure. No problem [stupid git]
posted by hal9k at 7:16 AM on October 7, 2005

From the TimesOnline article, quoting Dr McCrae: "We need to see people as individuals, whether they are Americans or Lebanese, Gen-Xers or senior citizens.”

Really? How are we to see people as individuals when we bunch up in herds?

My objections, besides what curtm said, is that these "bunches" of people need not be coextensive with nation-state boundaries: some are smaller while some are bigger. Another is that many are not likely to fit "racial", "ethnic", "religious", and/or "regional" categories, e.g., it stands to reason that way more non-Jews of any "type" are "clannish" and "money-grubbing" (stereotypes of Jews I've heard but don't subscribe to), and that I'll bet that for example a Pakistani small storekeeper in Manchester probably has more personality traits in common with a Korean small storekeeper in Baltimore than either has with a dentist of their own respective "nationalities" in their respective "home countries".

As to why any of this might be the case if it really is, I propose "People are goofy." (Prove to us all, O hypothetical stereotype- resenter, that you are not "goofy" -- whoever you are.)
posted by davy at 7:18 AM on October 7, 2005

stereotypes are so lazy....
posted by room at 7:22 AM on October 7, 2005

This is hilarious. How can you prove/disprove something as subjective as perception?

There must be no truly quantitative studies left to do.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:23 AM on October 7, 2005

Needless to say, there appears to be no way to take the NEO-PI-R for free online.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:28 AM on October 7, 2005

what does the title of this thread imply?
posted by shmegegge at 7:47 AM on October 7, 2005

Yankees suck.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:58 AM on October 7, 2005

I'd just like to say that every Welsh person I've ever known has been short, squat, covered with an improbable quantity of dark curly hair and given to skulking around thunderously declaiming Dylan Thomas poetry whilst scowling menacingly from beneath a brow as darkly imposing as a Snowdonian crag in the rain. And that was just the women!
posted by Decani at 8:10 AM on October 7, 2005

Uh, 13twelve, some Americans can even spell "Czechoslovakia" correctly, and some even know that that country split up almost 13 years ago.

Did you know that Pakistan used to be part of India? And that West Virginia used to be the western part of Virginia, but that there is no East Virginia? Oh, and where is Nepal relative to Alabama?
posted by davy at 8:12 AM on October 7, 2005

posted by Harry at 8:12 AM on October 7, 2005

> I'd just like to say that every Welsh person I've ever known
> has been short, squat, covered with an improbable quantity
> of dark curly hair and given to skulking around.

Is this going to be another Alex Reynolds thread then?

If so, you've forgotten to mention the sheep. You can't mention the Welsh without talking about the sheep.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:53 AM on October 7, 2005

Good heavens Ms. Sakamoto -- you're BEAUTIFUL!
posted by papercake at 8:57 AM on October 7, 2005

"Uh, 13twelve, some Americans can even spell "Czechoslovakia" correctly, and some even know that that country split up almost 13 years ago."

I think that post was meant to be a joke flowing from the "dumb, ignorant yankees" in the thread title.

"I didn't now..."
"where X, Y and Z where..."

But I could be rong.

Get it? Get it?
posted by Mike D at 8:59 AM on October 7, 2005

Canadians hold the stereotype of English people as reserved, which my English housemate insists they are. But living in England, I find English people to be a fair bit louder and more boisterous than Canadians, though maybe not more than people in the U.S. (where I was recently living).

Or maybe it's just that I'm from Toronto, and we're all a bunch of cold, unfriendly Bay Street types.
posted by jb at 9:24 AM on October 7, 2005

In most of Canada, Ontarioans are thought of as being cold and unfriendly, BCers as being granola-munching hippies, Albertans as being as dumb and ignorant as the Yanks, and lets not start on the Maritimers. To a point I could understand the assertion that the groups advance the stereotypes themselves, but in reality I think that the stereotypes arose out of cultural conflicts with other Canadians, and some of the groups chose to embrace the image. For example, most of my Albertan friends are very proud of being "backwards redneck" - although I would hesitate to say that it's even true about them.

So, with all these cultural stereotypes within the country - and I'm sure all or most countries do this, how can there really be a national type?
posted by arcticwoman at 9:40 AM on October 7, 2005

Despite my best efforts, that stereotype of researchers persists.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:44 AM on October 7, 2005

Those figures are confusing until they get boiled down to a simple and effective theonion t-shirt.
posted by creeptick at 4:31 PM on October 7, 2005

“In fact, unfavourable stereotypes are potentially very dangerous, forming the bases for prejudice, discrimination, persecution, or even genocide.”

What about the FAVOURABLE stereotypes? The goody-goody stuff that appears over and over again in the justifications of warmongers and genocidists throughout history:

Nationality/race X has always been motivated by kindness and a boundless desire to help others.
All (or most) cultural developments in history were due to nationality/race X.
Nationality/Race X are God's Chosen People made in His Own Image.
Nationality/Race X have a manifest destiny to spread ethically superior culture to their neighbors.
etc etc

Watch out for these stereotypes coming soon in uplifiting patriotic speeches near you!
posted by cleardawn at 6:16 PM on October 7, 2005

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