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Culture and Personality

Some experience is common to all cultures. Every where infant’s are nursed or fed by older persons live in groups, learn to communicate through language, experience punishments . and rewards of some kind, and have some other experiences common to the entire human species. It is also true that each society gives to ‘Virtually all its members certain experiences which many other societies do not offer. From the social experience common to virtually all members of a given society, there emerges a characteristic personality configuration typical of many members of that society. Duos [1944, pp. 3-5] has called this the “modal personality” (taken from the statistical term, “mode,” referring to that value which appears most frequently in a series). How the modal personality may vary between two different cultures is seen in the following contrast. (Most of these observations were made several decades ago, before these cultures had been so greatly changed by contact with outsiders.)

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