– We’re all in this together – but not if you’re an American. A new study by psychologists at Stanford University has found that Americans aren’t driven by a sense of community. And calls to Americans to act interdependently, rather than independently, could even make things worse. So if you’re trying to get people to do something like recycling, it’s better to stress that it’s good for them individually rather than pointing out the wider benefits. ‘American culture stresses independence, and the desire for independence fuels behaviour,’ says MarYam Hamedani, one of the study’s authors. ‘People often like the idea of working together and certainly care about social issues. But our findings show that thinking about and caring about others doesn’t always translate into effective action.’ When working together, the students were less persistent in solving difficult puzzles and applied less physical pressure in a test of their strength. However, the motivation of Asian-American students did not change across the three tasks. The researchers noted that Asian-American students are exposed to both mainstream American culture, which stresses independence, and East Asian culture, which stresses the value and importance of interdependence. As a result, appeals to think and act interdependently or independently were equally motivating.
Before everybody starts getting bent out of white shape:
self·ish adjective \ˈsel-fish\
1: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
2: arising from concern with one’s own welfare or advantage in disregard of others
You may not be a fan of the word choice, but by definition apparently this is true. Hilarious and amusing that science is now providing concrete evidence that white people don’t give a shit about other people. REALLY? White Americans are selfish!? You’d think after Native American genocide, African slavery, and the 2012-2013 Minnesota Timberwolves white Americans’ “individualistic nature” would be self-evident.
But I suppose it’s nice to have supporting data. Asian folks out there just lending each other a helping hand building Great Walls visible from space while white Americans are busy constructing incomplete fences to keep Mexicans out. Yeah maybe I don’t know a whole lot about Chinese history but it’s common knowledge the Great Wall was all about togetherness and yellow camaraderie.
Have fun preaching the Atlas Shrugged every-man-for-himself gospel to our Chinese Robot Overlords in 10 years.