Communicating Culture: Perceptions of Global Communication

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Deirdre Johnston, Hope College
Professor Rebecca DeVries, Hope College

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The hypothesis of this study is that high levels of global exposure (measured by international internet, media, and travel experience) in college-age students will be related to positive beliefs regarding global communication (the intercultural diffusion of ideas and values). Internet survey data was collected from college-age students from China, Korea, Mexico, and the United States. Surveys were conducted in the language of the countries surveyed and administered by local college faculty in each country. A twenty-one item global exposure scale indicates that global exposure varies significantly by country with Korea featuring the highest level of global exposure followed by the United States, Mexico, and China respectively. Factor analysis revealed four dimensions of global perceptions: National Progress (belief that global communication leads to government accountability, effects global politics, promotes scientific and technological development), Cooperation (belief that global communication promotes peace and solutions to world problems), Fear (belief that global communication threatens the traditions and morals of one’s culture), and Pro-West (belief that global communication promotes democratic values). The beliefs of Mexican college students were consistent with the hypothesis of the study in that comparatively lower level of global exposure was associated with high fear of global communication, cynicism that global communication leads to national progress and promotes change and accountability in world politics. However, inconsistent with the hypothesized relationship, Koreans who had the highest level of global exposure also had the highest Fear beliefs scores of the nations surveyed. Further, mean scores for Pro-West beliefs were highest for China despite low global exposure scores overall. These preliminary results reveal a more complex relationship between global exposure and the four identified dimensions of global perception than originally hypothesized. It is anticipated that on going data collection in Holland, Japan, and other countries will further explore the complexities present within these findings.

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