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Anthropomorphization is the process of attributing human mental states to nonhuman agents, whereby people draw on their knowledge stores of human behavior and assign that information to objects with which they are unfamiliar. People may also anthropomorphize nonhuman agents to create a social connection if they lack such connections with other human beings. The current study aims to build on prior research by introducing cultural membership as a moderating variable in the relationship between social motivation and anthropomorphization tendencies. Individualistic cultures value the autonomous self - a self that has unique characteristics, thoughts, and goals. Alternatively, collectivistic cultures value the self as part of a unified whole - a self that prioritizes maintaining harmony within the group, even at the expense of individual desires. Since social relationships are more focal in collectivistic cultures than individualistic cultures, individuals living in individualistic cultures may feel more socially isolated than individuals living in collectivistic cultures. Thus, people living in individualistic cultures may tend to anthropomorphize nonhuman agents - such as their pets - more than people living in collectivistic cultures. The present study aims to test this hypothesis using a proposed 2 (cultural membership) x 2 (social motivation) experimental design.
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Desai, Urvashi Bhartendu, "Cultural Membership as a Moderator in the Relationship Between Social Motivation and Anthropomorphization Tendencies" (2020). Senior Projects Spring 2020. 31.
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