Impact of Culture on Perceived Responsiveness in Close Relationships





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Project Description

This project will explore how different cultural values (e.g., individualism, collectivism) affect how we interact with close others. Specifically, how these values impact what behaviors we believe is responsive or supportive from close others, such as family, friends, and romantic partners. For example, how supportive is it to receive comfort and reassurance from someone vs. receiving practical advice, and does the supportiveness change depending on one’s cultural background?

The first stage of this project will consist of interviewing participants about behaviors they viewed as supportive from close others in their past experiences. Later stages of this project will compile these behaviors into groups based on the function of each behavior (e.g., makes participants feel better about themselves, provides tangible help) to be validated by another sample of participants in a survey format. We will not only examine how cultural values may predict different responsive behaviors but also how this may change depending on the type of relationship, the extent behaviors are evaluated as similarly responsive across cultures, the underlying cultural reasons for differences and similarities, and how these perceptions impact longitudinal well-being.

Undergraduate Contribution

Research assistants will be involved in all aspects of the project, including piloting study methods, running studies with participants over Zoom and in-person, creating surveys on Qualtrics, providing feedback on study design, and conducting literature reviews to learn about the theoretical background of this project. RAs are also free to analyze data to apply for an URCA project or an honors thesis under the guidance of the PI(s).

Requirements and/or Application Instructions

Prior research experience is preferred but not required. Students must be enthusiastic about research, comfortable interacting with participants (UCSB students and other members of the community), attentive to detail, responsible, respectful, conscientious, and able to commit 6-9 hours a week for at least 2 quarters to the project.
For more information, please contact the graduate student in charge of the study, Delancey Wu: