University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Michelle D. Leichtman, Department of Psychology
Cultural Variations In Narrative Discourse Style Between American and Colombian Children
The US and Colombia hold different value and social orientations. The US is more individualistic, placing a greater importance on personal autonomy, whereas Colombia has a collectivist orientation where interpersonal relationships take precedence over individual needs and goals. This study aims to look at the social, emotional, and cognitive characteristics of American and Colombian children’s narratives through the lens of these different orientations. The objective is to conduct narrative interviews with fifteen children in the US and fifteen children in Colombia in which they will share memories and provide the endings to stories. We predict that American children’s memories and stories will demonstrate a more autonomous orientation reflected in a focus on the self and themes of uniqueness and self-reliance, while in contrast, Colombian children’s narratives will show greater evidence of social engagement, greater concern for others, and more situational details. We expect to see correlations between the story endings and the autobiographical memories shared and depending where the child is from, both narratives will show signs of culture-specific orientations. The implications of this study address how American and Colombian children’s narratives and personal memories show different ways of organizing and interpreting the world, and evidence how socialization practices within a culture affect self-generated story outcomes.