Grounding cultural syndromes: Body comportment and values in honor and dignity cultures

Hans Ijzerman, Dov Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The body is a carrier of relatively complex cultural values. Three experiments examined links between body comportment and honor (a cultural syndrome prizing female chastity, familial loyalty, and reputation). We put participants from nonhonor (Anglo-Americans; Experiment 1) and honor (Latinos; Experiment 2) cultures in upright versus slouched postures and primed them with honor versus control words. In our third experiment, we surveyed participants from nonhonor (native Dutch) and honor (Arab and Turkish Dutch) cultures about their attitudes toward honor-related violence and then measured posture change. Concerns with honor were embodied by men from honor cultures bi-directionally. For persons from nonhonor cultures, body posture can be connected to honor concerns, if participants are appropriately primed. However, with all else equal, the rejection of honor in such cultures is embodied in much the same way that men from honor cultures embody honor. Links between body comportment and values are not arbitrary but not simple either. The ways embodiments are conditioned by culture and gender are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-467
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Culture
  • Dignity
  • Embodiment
  • Grounded cognition
  • Honor
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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