Assignment: Cross-Cultural Counseling

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Assignment: Cross-Cultural Counseling

Assignment: Cross-Cultural Counseling

As such, those who view themselves as more principled will be more likely to notice, remember, and admire people who exemplify

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high integrity. When asked about their heroes, they will be more likely to think about people who exemplify integrity, and when asked

to list the qualities possessed by their heroes, they will be more likely to list characteristics associated with integrity. We predicted that

they would describe their heroes as exemplifying moral conviction, honesty, authenticity, and the concern for others. Based on research

indicating that integrity is negatively related to materialism and pos- itively related to spirituality and intrinsic religiosity (Schlenker, 2007) we also predicted that people who scored higher in integrity

would be more likely to describe their heroes as being spiritual and religious as compared to materialistic. In contrast, those who score

lower in integrity see themselves as having a more balanced mixture of qualities reflecting principles and expediency (Miller & Schlenker,

2007) and therefore will prefer such a mixture in others. Their heroes will have a variety of special achievements but without a

comparable moral tone. Study 1 tests these hypotheses by asking participants to describe

their heroes and the qualities they admire in them. Study 2 uses a

different methodology—evaluating hypothetical characters whose

328 Schlenker, Weigold, & Schlenker

actions vary in ethicality and in success—to examine the same fun-

damental issue: Will those higher in integrity admire people who exemplify principled instead of expedient conduct? The method in

Study 1 allows us to address the question in the context of people’s spontaneous descriptions of those admire; that of Study 2 allows us

to address it by controlling the conduct of characters to determine how variations in their behavior are related to evaluations.




One hundred fifty students (108 females, 42 males) enrolled in a journalism course at the University of Florida participated for extra credit in their class. The average age of participants was 20.3 years (SD5 1.10), with a range from 18 to 24.

Heroes Survey

The booklet asked participants to list and describe people they regarded as heroes, with heroes defined broadly. The instructions indicated that heroes come in many forms and can be real or fictional, living or dead, and known or unknown to the participants. Heroes were to be people whom participants admired and regarded as exemplars. It was also noted that heroes can be influential in helping people deal with a variety of is- sues, including the type of person they want to become, the kinds of val- ues they consider important, and the different strategies they might use to pursue their goals and dreams or handle specific situations. Participants were asked to ‘‘list as many or as few heroes as you think appropriate, since some people have many heroes and others have fewer. For each hero, list the qualities you admire in this person.’’

Next, participants were asked to ‘‘select the hero who has been the most influential for you personally, that is, the hero who has had the greatest impact on you.’’ They were to write the person’s name followed by a brief description of the person in the event his or her name was unfamiliar (e.g., movie star, politician, businessperson, musician, police- man, relative, friend). They then rated this individual on closed-ended adjective scales.

Finally, they completed Rokeach’s (1973) Value Survey, in which they rank-ordered 18 terminal values, or values that are important ends in themselves (e.g., freedom, happiness, pleasure) and 18 instrumental values,

What Makes a Hero? 329

or values that are important means to other ends (e.g., ambitious, helpful, honest). The value data from 8 participants were unusable (they failed to complete the items or did not follow the instructions to rank items).


On separate days about 2 weeks apart, participants completed (1) the Heroes Survey and the Value Survey and (2) a copy of the Integrity Scale (Schlenker, 2007) plus a short version of the Crowne-Marlowe Social Desirability Scale (Reynolds, 1982). Participants were asked to take the questionnaires home, complete them in a quiet place where they would not be bothered or distracted, and return them at their next class. To ensure anonymity, participants used a code name of their own choosing to identify their questionnaires.

Dependent Measures: Spontaneous Listing

Coding scheme. A coding scheme was developed to assess important qualities that might be possessed by heroes. Six categories reflected qualities associated in the literature with moral identity and character, including be- ing committed to principles, honest, impartial, beneficent (e.g., caring toward others), determined, and spiritual. Studies examining people’s everyday con- ceptions of morality suggest moral character is organized as a distinct pro- totype (Aquino & Reed, 2002; Lapsley & Lasky, 2001; Walker & Hennig, 2004; Walker & Pitts, 1998). Although some of the specific attributes can vary by culture, historical period, and individual, at the core it includes the qualities of being principled and having moral convictions, being honest, and being fair; these are three distinguishable dimensions in naturalistic conceptions of morality (Walker & Hennig, 2004). Moral prototypes also can include the three virtues of being caring toward others (caring, kind, compassionate, loving, unselfish), dependable (dependable, reliable, respon- sible, hardworking, determined), and spiritual or religious (Aquino & Reed, 2002; Walker & Pitts, 1998). It is worth noting that scores on the Integrity Scale are positively correlated with scores on measures of being caring, helpful toward others, and intrinsically religious (Schlenker, 2007).

Three additional categories reflected fundamental interpersonal qualities that are not uniquely related to moral prototypes but appear in most per- sonality and group rating schemes: intelligence, social skills, and power. Pe- rusal of the qualities spontaneously listed by respondents produced three additional categories: having a positive attitude or outlook, being forgiving, and being materialistically successful. Finally, an other category includes attributes that did not fit elsewhere and appeared infrequently enough so as to not warrant creation of a new category. Table 1 presents these 13 categories and examples of the qualities that were coded in each.

330 Schlenker, Weigold, & Schlenker

Table 1 Study 1: Categories Used for Coding the Spontaneous Descriptions

Category Description and Examples

Commitment to


References to being morally principled: ‘‘principled,’’

‘‘fought for her/his beliefs,’’ ‘‘stands up for what she

believes,’’ ‘‘strong convictions,’’ ‘‘true to morals,’’

‘‘strong moral values,’’ ‘‘morals to live by,’’ ‘‘moral’’

Honesty References to truth-telling: ‘‘honest,’’ ‘‘truthful,’’


Spirituality References to spirituality, religion, and faith: ‘‘spiritual,’’

‘‘strong faith in God,’’ ‘‘religious’’

Impartiality References to being impartial: ‘‘unbiased,’’ ‘‘fair’’

Beneficence References to altruism, concern for others, and a lack of

self-absorption: ‘‘caring,’’ ‘‘helpful,’’ ‘‘supportive,’’

‘‘considerate,’’ ‘‘devoted to family,’’ ‘‘loyal,’’

‘‘unselfish,’’ ‘‘selfless,’’ ‘‘humble,’’ ‘‘puts others before

self,’’ ‘‘thinks of others before self’’

Determination References to resoluteness, dedication, commitment to

unnamed goals, and perseverance to goals: ‘‘dedicated,’’

‘‘committed,’’ ‘‘goal oriented,’’ ‘‘determined,’’ ‘‘hard

working,’’ ‘‘persevered,’’ ‘‘overcame obstacles,’’ ‘‘never-

say-die attitude’’

Intellectual skill References to wisdom and intelligence: ‘‘smart,’’ ‘‘wise,’’

‘‘creative,’’ ‘‘genius’’

Social skill References to social attributes that make interactions

easier: ‘‘outgoing,’’ ‘‘extraverted,’’ ‘‘good listener,’’

‘‘funny,’’ ‘‘good sense of humor’’

Power References to strength, leadership skills, and the ability

to motivate others: ‘‘leader,’’ ‘‘in control,’’ ‘‘calm,’’

‘‘brave,’’ ‘‘inspirational,’’ ‘‘strong’’

Positive attitude References to being optimistic and confident:

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