Evidence For A Simpatico Self-schema In Studies Comparing Hispanics and Whites
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Considerable evidence exists that many Latin American cultures emphasize concept of simpatia or simpatico (Triandis, Martin, Lisansky, & Betancourt, 1984). The purpose of this research project was to test for evidence that Mexican-Americans use a simpatico self-schema more than White Americans do. Study 1 assessed the participants' reported self-schemas using the "Who am I?" paradigm (Gordon, 1968). As predicted, the Hispanic participants reported significantly more simpatico-related terms in their self-descriptions than the White participants. Study 2 also assessed the self-schema of the participants, using a traditional cognitive paradigm (Markus, 1977). However, none of the predicted hypotheses for that study were supported, and possible explanations for these null results are discussed. Study 3 was developed based on the logic that the extent to which people have been socialized in the use of the simpatia cultural script is represented not only in their self-concepts but also in the extent to which simpatia becomes cognitively available as a guide to their behavior in social interaction settings. A reanalysis of data from a previous dyadic interaction study (Holloway, Waldrip, & Ickes, 2006) was conducted to determine if the actor's and partner's simpatico-index scores could predict three groups of variables: behavioral involvement, perceived interaction quality, and positive partner directed positive affect. All three hypotheses were supported, demonstrating the role of simpatia in guiding social interaction behavior. Practical applications of these findings are discussed in reference to clinical psychology and organizational and industrial psychology. Recommendations for future research are also made.