18 July 2007

Are You Talkin' to Me?

According to results of a study detailed in the July issue of the journal Psychological Science, Americans are not as likely to understand other humans as some other cultures.

The report, while admittedly simple in its scope and conclusions, compares the American society of "individualism" with other societies in which the welfare of the whole group takes precedence over individuality.

I can say from personal experience that I would agree with the study's findings, as America is one of the few countries that demonstrates little real concern for the less fortunate (whether human or other animals) as compared to, say, France or Canada. (Can you say "47 million Americans without health insurance"?)

This is not to say individualism is a bad thing. After all, more modern technological advances have been generated in America and by Americans than by any other society of people. There is a lot to be said for one man or woman striking out to do something beneficial to himself or herself that -- oh, by the way -- also happens to benefit the world at large.

But, do we really need so many technological advances that come at the cost of considering the welfare of our fellow humans? Sometimes, I wonder.

You can read an article about the survey here.

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