Do we see ourselves as we really are?

Szabo Gabor By Szabo Gabor, 28th Sep 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Social Trends

A worldwide survey casts doubt on national stereotypes.

Every nation has stereotypes

The English are cold and reserved, Brazilians are lively and fun-loving, and the Japanese are shy and hardworking - these are examples of national stereotypes which are widely believed, not only by other nationalities but also by many people among the nationality themselves. But how much truth is there in such stereotypes? Two psychologists, Robert McCrae and Antonio Terracciano, have investigated the subject and the results of their research are surprising. They found that people from a particular country do share some general characteristics, but that these characteristics are often very different from the stereotype.

The large survey

In the largest survey of its kind, a team of psychologists used personality tests to establish shared characteristics among 49 different nationalities around the world. They then interviewed thousands of people from these same groups and asked them to describe typical members of their own nationality. In most cases the stereotype (how nationalities saw themselves) was very different from the results of the personality tests (the reality).

The result

For example, Italians and Russians thought of themselves as extrovert and sociable, but the personality tests showed them to be much more introvert than they imagined. The Spanish saw themselves as very extrovert, but also as rather lazy. In fact, the research showed them to be only averagely extrovert and much more conscientious than they thought. Brazilians were quite neurotic - the opposite of their own view of themselves. The Czechs and the Argentinians thought of themselves as bad tempered and unfriendly, but they turned out to be among the friendliest of all nationalities. The English were the nationality whose own stereotype was the furthest from reality. While they saw themselves as reserved arid closed, Dr McCrae's research showed them to be among the most extrovert and open-minded of the groups studied.

We are much more

The only nationality group in the whole study where people saw themselves as they really are was the Poles - not especially extrovert, and slightly neurotic. Dr McCrae and Dr Terracciano hope that their research will show that national stereotypes are inaccurate and unhelpful and that this might improve international understanding - we're all much more alike than we think we are!



Nations, Opinions, People, Society, Stereotypes, Survey

Meet the author

author avatar Szabo Gabor
I like reading, writing and sharing interesting articles. My favourite topics: environment, animals, plants, science, technology, useful tips and mysteries. Now I’m learning natural science at the university.

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author avatar mountainside
12th Jan 2011 (#)

Very interesting, no U. S. model? Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar AwU716yFncwfU8lb2Pzs
3rd May 2019 (#)

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