Social psychology, (cross-)cultural issues and political psychology 1
1. Frequency of active and passive verbs in history narratives
University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
Agency – the ability to act effectively (Hamilton, 2007) – is a major component in social perception and identity studies. It makes a difference whether we see other people as actively shaping their life as opposed to being passive recipients of events. Similarly, our own capacity of agency or our group’s capacity to cope actively with challenges reflect important aspects of individual and group (national) identity. Activity appears in narrative texts mainly through the use of active and passive verbs. Implicit semantics of verbs has been studied previously in several psychological paradigms (LCM, Semin and Fiedler, 1989, 1991; LIB, Maas et al.). We have developed a verb dictionary with two major categories: active versus passive. We inserted this dictionary into the NooJ language technological device (Silberztein, 2008), that has the capacity to build local grammars for identifying language patterns in context. Our program is therefore not a mere dictionary, but performs morphological and grammatical analyses as well. Using this program we tested the ingroup–outgroup asymmetry phenomena in Hungarian history textbooks and narratives of Hungarian people. Results show that there appears much more agency for the ingroup in positive stories than in negative ones, while for the outgoup the situation is reversed.
2. The investigation of group characteristics of attributing intention through the narration of historical events
Ferenczhalmy R., László J.
First author's affiliation: Institute of Psychology, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
In a broader sense, the concept of intentionality comprises assigning intentions and mental states to others. In our study we focus on one aspect of attributing intentions, namely, the identification of intention in texts. Our approach is based on Brunner’s distinction between the descriptive and the psychological levels of narration. On the psychological level the interpretation and evaluation appear beyond the pure description of events. In our research we investigate what intentions the narrator assigns to specific agents in the text. We also focus on the interpretation of opportunity and compulsion in the text. Our research group works with the NOOJ language technological tool. We compose dictionaries relevant to the concept of intentionality, and with the help of local grammars this program enables us to do analyses on textual and morpho-syntactic levels. In our research we aimed to analyse the narratives of 10 historical events that bear great significance for the Hungarian national identity. We worked with two corpora: history textbooks used in current Hungarian elementary and secondary schools, and folk historical corpus which incorporates the texts of a representative sample taken from 500 individuals. We regarded these texts as important social representations of national identity. Our main focus was the comparison between the assigned intention to the in- or the outgroup in the description of positive and negative events. According to our hypothesis, in the formation of a positive identity intention will be assigned to the ingroup in the description of positive events, whereas in the description of negative events it will be assigned to the outgroup. We further hypothesize that with the positive events it will be mainly the opportunities, while with the negative events it will be mainly the compulsions that characterize the ingroup. Our results are in concordance with our hypotheses, according to which the representation of national identity can be interpreted in terms of control, responsibility, and agency.
3. Elaboration of traumatic historical events in the media – Longitudinal content analytic study of the press coverage of the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy in the Hungarian press from 1920 to 2007
University of Pécs, Pilis, Hungary
Research group at the University of Pécs has developed a set of programs for narrative psychological content analysis. These programs are related to social psychological phenomena of inter-group relations in historical narratives. The programs measure agency in inter-group conflicts, collective emotions, primary and secondary emotions, intentionality, cognitive processes, and negation. These computer algorithms also have the capacity to tie psychological “hits” to characters and groups participating in the narrated event. The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which was completed by the Paris Treaties in 1920, was a traumatic experience to Hungarian national identity because of the secession of two thirds of the former territory as well as population of the country. History leading to this event as well as consequences of the Paris Treaty have been discussed in the mass media in details ever since, however in changing length and political orientation depending on the changing historical epochs in the twentieth century. A sample consisting of left wing, liberal and conservative daily news papers was selected for analysis. Sample texts dealing with the Paris Treaty were selected from every fifth year of each journal from 1920 to 2007 arriving at a text corpus of 300 000 characters. This corpus was analyzed with the aforementioned programs looking for differences and changes in emotions, cognitions, negations, group agency and group intentionality. The results show that the elaboration of the trauma is reflected in a decreasing number of negations, increasing cognitions by both in-group and out-group, decreasing intentionality of out-groups for bad deeds, and increasing in-group agency in bad deeds.
4. The emotional representation of history
University of Pécs, Institute Of Psychology, Pécs, Hungary
Our aim in this study was to get a view about the emotional representation of Hungarian history through analyses of history books and stories about historical events told by people. An emotion dictionary was applied with all Hungarian words containing emotional meaning. This dictionary was implemented into NooJ language technological device. By applying local grammars it was possible to handle a large text corpus and to detect emotional expressions while filtering out false matches. Emotions were categorized on the dimensions of valence (positive, negative, neutral) and of human nature (social, basic emotions). These emotion-classes were then used for the examination of various social-psychological models, like that of infrahumanization, inter-group emotion theory and models of collective emotions. We supposed that narrative psychological analyses of social representations of history concerning emotions provide an opportunity to get at the conclusions about the constructions of group identity. We assumed that historical trajectory of a nation may have an effect on emotional representations. East- Middle European national identity has special features: instability of national frames, permanent fear from destruction, and danger of occupation by other nations. In contrast, stable Western nation states allow their people to be relaxed about their national identity. Our results support the notion that characteristics of Hungarian historical trajectory override the phenomena found in other cultures concerning emotions: infrahumanization, IET and collective emotions appear in a specific way in emotional representations of Hungarian history as a consequence of Hungarian historical trajectory.
5. Emotional representations of historical events found in Hungarian history textbooks
University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
As part of an extended research aiming to investigate the narratives of 20th century historical events as they appear in Hungarian history textbooks, the focus of this study was to assess visual representations in the form of images and illustrations to measure the levels of emotional processing of specific events in respect to the Kubler-Ross (1969) grief model. Utilizing qualitative methods, 42 illustrations together with their short explanations were examined and ranked on grief scale from denial to acceptance. These illustrations, serving as beacons by the author(s), may represent how Hungarians over the last hundred years have come in terms with events emotionally. Findings indicate that emotional processing of some events has not been fully completed in the examined period.