Cultural Differences Between Countries

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If you walk down a street in America, what do you typically see on the faces of individuals? It’s a trait that distinguishes Americans from more homogenous countries, such as China and Zimbabwe. Americans are much more likely to have a smile on their face. Why is this? Are Americans happier than people living in other countries? Not necessarily; however, it does reflect the contrasting cultural dynamics that exist between countries. What is culture? Culture is the artifacts and ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that are part of any society. Culture can influence our beliefs and behaviors and it can vary between countries. For example, someone who grows up in the United States would differ from someone growing up in North Korea. They wouldn’t…show more content…
According to the article, people in Russia believe that laughing for no reason is a sign of stupidity. Smiling in certain countries is not seen as a sign of warmth rather it is evidence that you’re a fool. However, in the United States, people smile to bond socially with another person. It is a difference in culture that explains why smiling is viewed more positively in certain countries. A sociologist would analyze the cultural dynamics by looking at the reasons why people in specific countries are more likely to smile than people in other countries. What are the factors in a country’s culture that explains their views on smiling? One article cites a study by Kuba Krys who used an “uncertainty avoidance” scale, and countries who ranked low on this scale probably had courts, health care systems that were unstable. Since smiling gives the impression of confidence or certainty, people may consider you odd when smiling because of the uncertainty surrounding various aspects of the country. Furthermore, people would view your smiling (specifically in a corrupt country) suspiciously because they aren’t aware of your intentions when smiling. Since smiling is considered unusual in…show more content…
There are smiles that indicate that a person is genuinely happy, and forced or staged smiles that people employ when they feel it is necessary. The article mentioned four types of smiles: contempt (a smile that doesn’t come from a place of happiness), controlled (a smile that shows that you’re happy but not too happy), enjoyment (a smile that shows you’re genuinely excited), and posed (you’re smiling because you feel it is necessary). Researchers conducted a study to see if people noticed the variations of smiling. The participants watched videos of the different types of smiles, and they had to evaluate the emotions behind the smile. Posed and contempt smiles “conveyed lower happiness/reassurance ratings”, which proves that people do notice a difference. The article points out how voters use smiles to somewhat reveal a candidate’s personality. In an analysis of 958 Japanese and American elections, researchers concluded that smiling in campaign photos can predict the outcome of an election. Voters prefer candidates who are genuinely happy. In one of the other articles, it mentioned a study in which researchers looked at photos of legislators from 10 countries. Then, they looked at how much the country’s college students valued happy emotions. They saw the correlation that the more a college student valued happiness, the more excited the government officials looked in their photos.

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