Incoming IACCP president seeks bigger role for young researchersAustralia-based psychologist Yoshi Kashima yesterday took over as the president of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP), starting a two-year presidential journey that will end in 2014.
Kashima (55) had been elected in an online ballot in 2010 by the organisations worldwide members, per IACCPs tradition. The Japanese-born professor at Melbourne University took over from Professor Kwok Leung, who had been at the associations helm since 2010.
Thank you very much for electing me, Kashima told delegates attending IACCPs general meeting here in Stellenbosch. I know the tradition of the association very well, and I will ensure that we continue to develop and grow it.
Kashima, a professor in social psychology and cross-cultural psychology later explained that he had already started working on measures to encourage the participation of young researchers and improve the organisations relationship with other academic associations.
We want to cultivate the involvement of the younger generation, which includes PhD students and early-career researchers who have obtained their PhD
less than ten years ago. We are trying to start a youth group and also establish an early-career award, which are mechanisms we have not had so far, Kashima said. We will set up a subcommittee to work on this plan in the next six months to a year.
Kashima said involvement of younger people was important as they would carry some of the associations administrative burden and be in a good position to move the institution forward. The organisation also depends on individual researchers participation, which is why a growing membership remains a priority.
Kashima said the IACCP also enjoyed connections with large international associations. Renewing those, and building more synergies, is one of his top priorities, he said. Among IACCPs friends are the Asian Association of Social Psychology and the Students for Industrial-Organizational Psychology.
The general meeting also heard that the association was in a sound financial position and its publications are doing well. It was also reported that membership is growing, with 763 members from 71 countries as of 31 May 2012.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
The newely elected president of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, Yoshi Kashima.
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Lines of segregration still visible in South Africa
South Africa has progressed well in terms of racially integrating schools and universities post-apartheid, with some former white education institutions having more black students, but the country remains deeply racially segregated, a University of Cape Town study has found.
The 10 year research found that while SA universities were more representative of the countrys demographics, South Africans were still not comfortable sharing space with those outside their race and there was still racial prejudice between blacks and whites.
The series of observational studies, which were carried out at UCT, some of the Long Street pubs and night clubs, and education institutions in Gauteng, also found that while there was no longer institutional segregation in South Africa and public and leisure spaces were more integrated, there was still very little inter-racial contact. Not enough inter-racial friendships were made in such spaces.
While some of the redress policies, including Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and land restitution were introduced after the first democratic elections in 1994, there was still not enough support. Some white South Africans were found to be likely to oppose the implementation of such policies as they felt they were unjust towards them.
Speaking at the conference, Professor Colin Tredoux, professor of psychology at UCT said data has shown that whites who had more inter-racial contact and had formed relationships and friendships outside their race, were supportive in principle of such policies. When it came to implementation, they were likely to oppose them. Ironically, the black middle-class who had more inter-racial contacts were also found to be resistant to the implementation of some redress policies.
Tredoux said this informal segregation had been mostly observed in seating arrangements and choices of students in dining halls, public spaces, classrooms and cafeteria.
Most students had cited comfort as a spontaneous reason for not forming inter-racial contacts. In a survey that was carried out in 2010, researchers observed that the initial seating arrangement of first-year students was in segregated patterns. When students sat on the steps outside UCTs Jamieson Hall, researchers observed that black students were more likely to sit on top of the steps, whites in the middle and coloured students on the sides.
Of the 285 new friendships that were formed by students in the first few months, only 51 were cross-race. About 65 percent of participants reported a great deal of inter-racial contact while 58 percent said the quality of contact was mostly positive.
A study that was done in Long Street in 2009 also revealed that while the trendy clubs proudly reflected diversity and racial mix of the countrys population, interaction and conversations at these clubs remained mono-racial.
Treduoux warned that inter-racial integration could not be forced on people. South Africa shouldnt ignore the micro-ecological levels of inter-racial contact, he said, as it could lead to reproduction of inequality for younger generations.
Segregation is a linchpin of inequality. If this is continued and ignored, its likely to reproduce a society that is highly unequal, he said.
BY SIPOKAZI FOKAZI
University of Cape Town
Does the word happy mean the same to all of us?
When was the last time someone got on your nerves, sending you screaming all over the place? You were angryand that happens to people all over the globe. But still, people may mean very different things when they use words such as anger to describe their emotion.
Now, researchers have developed an instrument, called GRID, to determine what so-called emotion words, such as anger, joy, hate, and sadness mean, and whether they are comparable across cultures.
GRID is the product of a seven-year collaborative research project between institutions in Belgium and Switzerland. The work was presented during a keynote speech today by the lead researcher, Dr Johnny Fontaine of Ghent University in Belgium. We use emotion terms very often,
Fontaine said, but the question is, what do these terms really mean?
An emotion, Fontaine said, is not a deep feeling, it is a process a package of different effects. We unpackage the package. We identify the features of that process. The instrument is called a grid because it has two axes. On one axis are emotion words, such as joy, happiness, hate, guilt, and shame. The other axis contains so-called emotion features, such as cried, sweated, increased breathing, or felt good.
People have to link these two together, Fontaine said. The grid has been tested in 27 different countries, from China to Belgium. The results showed
that the basic emotions, which include joy, happiness, sadness, and fear, have mostly the same features associated with them across countries and languages. The meaning of emotion appears to be quite stable when we use the grid, Fontaine said.
BY ROSALIA OMUNGO
Regional differences in learning patterns in early childhood
Psychologists have confirmed what many parents have often observed: the imitation of their older siblings is an important part of the learning process of young children.
Parents may not be aware, however, that the imitation
patterns showed by children in different parts of the world is markedly different.
Sonja Borchert, a PhD student from the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, studied 18-month-old toddlers in a Cameroon farming community and those from middle class families in Germany.
She used toys to elicit a response from the children and found that the toddlers in Cameroon reacted faster than babies from Germany, perhaps because they are not used to playing with toys.
Bettina Lamm, a PhD student at the University of Osnabrueck in Germany, studied children aged three, six and nine months old and discovered that infants from Germany learned language faster while those from Cameroon were
likely to learn to sit and stand sooner.
Joyce S. Pang, assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, spoke on Caring dad/controlling mum: Gender differences in effects of parental warmth and psychological control on aggression of impulsive Singapore children. She found that the quality of the parental relationship with a child will have an impact on the childs development.
She said controlling mothers had more influence on the behaviour of their sons than their daughters. Girls who are impulsive tend to identify themselves with their fathers warmth rather than to pay attention to their controlling mother.
A follow-up study will be carried out to assess behaviour changes during late adolescence.
BY LOMINDA AFEDRARU
Dr Johnny Fontaine
A vicious cycle of violence in Nigeria
Children who are forced to leave their homes as a result of conflicts and violence are more likely to display aggressive behaviour, according to a study among Nigerian children presented on Wednesday at the IACCP congress. The research was carried out by Agatha Ogwo of Nasarawa State University, Chinwe Ifeacho of the University of Nigeria, and Solomon Muma