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Press Release for Monday, April 16, 2018

UNF Psychology Study Reveals Certain Cultures Short in Everyday Patience

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

Patience in everyday life is a strong predictor of health and well-being. Dr. Dominik Guess, a University of North Florida psychology professor, conducted a European study regarding patience in everyday life. It reveals there are cultural differences as to when people get impatient and the reactions they show.

A Southside resident, Guess conducted his research while he was on a Marie-Curie Fellowship at the University of Bamberg in Germany. The study was conducted in France, Germany and Romania and was performed in conjunction with Guess’ colleagues Drs. Claus-Christian Carbon and Astrid Schütz as well as psychology undergraduate students Katrin Wanninger, Doris Hauth and Franziska Wiltsch, all from the University of Bamberg.

The results, recently published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, revealed people are more patient in certain situations than in others and that people from different cultures show different impatience reactions. The study also uncovered that in some cultures, people are more impatient than in others. These findings could be important for visitors traveling abroad, as expressing anger, for example, is culturally common in France and Germany.

The students observed over 800 people in the larger European cities of Paris, Berlin and Bucharest and the smaller cities of Rouen, Bamberg and Buzau in three daily life situations: waiting at an ATM machine, standing in a supermarket line and listening to a long phone survey.

The students waited at ATM machines and paid in supermarket lines but prolonged the process through clumsy behavior. Before starting a telephone survey, they read a long introduction of approximately 2 minutes. Then, they recorded the time when people waiting behind them or listening to the phone introduction got impatient, noting the kind of impatience reactions. For example, someone asking, “How long will this take?” or an individual stamping loudly with their foot on the ground, making a face, rolling their eyes or clicking their tongue.

Surprisingly, Germans were the most patient at ATM machines, possibly displaying more self-control, compared to French and Romanians. This assumption was supported by the fact that the French and Romanians left the ATM lines more often than Germans. In the ATM situation, the French displayed more angry facial expressions and left the situation more often compared to Germans and Romanians. In the supermarket, Germans showed more angry facial expressions compared to French and Romanians, while Germans showed the most impatient reactions in the telephone survey. Germans appear more patient with potential technical difficulties at ATM machines but impatient in social interactions.

In the telephone survey, people who were called sometimes said “Get to the point” or “Skip this introduction and start the questions.” About 20 percent of all people contacted put the phone down right away, as marketing calls or phone surveys in Europe aren’t as common as in the United States. The Romanians, compared to the French and Germans, said “I’m sorry” more often than the others.

Surprisingly, there were no differences between big and small cities; although people in bigger cities have a faster pace of life, they’re also used to more traffic and accidents, for example, as compared to daily life in smaller cities. The full results of the study, can be found in the Journal of Cross-Psychology website.

During his more than 10 years at UNF, Guess has worked to broaden the types of courses offered by the Department of Psychology, developing and teaching five new courses, including organizational behavior and culture, ethics and mental health. He was also one of the department’s first faculty to develop a distance learning course. Last year, he was selected as the recipient of the John A. Delaney Endowed Presidential Professorship, while in 2016, Guess was presented the Distinguished Professor Award.

His research interests include complex problem solving and dynamic decision making, planning and creativity, metacognition and cross-cultural studies. Guess has conducted multiple international research studies, including one regarding cultural influences on dynamic decision making that included research in Brazil, Germany, India and the Philippines through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

He earned a doctorate of philosophy in psychology from the Institute of Theoretical Psychology, General Psychology and Methodology at Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg in Bamberg, Germany. He also received a master’s and bachelor’s degree in psychology from Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.