Nairán Ramírez-
Esparza


Research

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I am a Cultural Researcher at the University of Connecticut. My research interests are at the intersection of culture, language and personality.

Language and Personality
I find the bilingual brain fascinating. When bilinguals alternate between their languages they see the world differently. I have been doing research on personality and I have also collaborated with Dr. Garcia-Sierra doing research on speech perception. My research questions include:
*Do  bilinguals change their personality when they switch languages?

*How bilinguals change their perception of speech sounds as they switch languages?

Publications
Ramírez-Esparza, N., Gosling, S. D., Benet-Martínez, V., Potter, J., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2006). Do bilinguals have two personalities? A special case of cultural frame switching. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 99-120. pdf.

Ramírez-Esparza, N., Gosling, S. D., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2008). Paradox lost:
Unraveling the puzzle of Simpatía. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39,
703-715. pdf.

García-Sierra A., Ramírez-Esparza, N., Silva-Pereyra, J., Siard, J., & Champlin, C. (2012). Assessing the double phonemic representation in bilingual speakers of Spanish and English: An electrophysiological study. Brain & Language, 121, 194-205.


Collaborators


Verónica Benet-Martínez
Cindy K Chung
Adrian Garcia-Sierra
Sam Gosling
Youngsuk Kim
Patricia Kuhl
Ewa Kacewicz
Matthias Mehl
Jamie Pennebaker
Gisela Sierra-Otero
Miriam Stieger
Raquel Suriá



Culture, Behavior, and Personality
My research questions include:
*Do people from different cultures behave differently as they engage in their daily activities?
*How people from different cultures construct their personalities?
*How can we measure personality and behaviors across cultures without relying on self-reports?

In order to answer these questions we have used the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) and the Meaning Extraction Method (MEM). The EAR is an electronic recorder that can capture everyday behaviors and social interactions among people. The MEM uses several text analytic tools to extract the most meaningful themes used in written text.

Publications
Ramírez-Esparza, N., Mehl, M. R., Alvarez-Bermúdez, J. & Pennebaker, J. W. (2009). Are Mexicans more sociable than Americans? Insights from a Naturalistic Observation Study. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 1-7.pdf.
 
Ramírez-Esparza, N., Chung, K. C., Sierra-Otero, G., & Pennebaker J. W. (2012). Cross-cultural constructions of self-schemas: Americans and Mexicans. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 43, 233-250. pdf.

Mehl, M. R., Vazire, S., Ramírez-Esparza, N., Slatcher, R. B., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2007). Are women really more talkative than men? Science, 317, 82.pdf.


Language, Culture, and Health
For over a decade Dr. Pennebaker, his students and colleagues have explored the psychology of word use in the English-speaking world. As a cultural researcher I am interested in studying how people use words to talk about their illnesses across cultures and across languages.

*What is the word choice people use when they talk about their illness?
*Are there any cross-cultural and cross-language differences in the way people talk about their illness?

Publications

Ramirez-Esparza, N., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2006). Do good stories produce good health? Exploring words, language, and culture. Narrative Inquiry, 16, 221-229 pdf.

Ramírez-Esparza, N., Pennebaker, J. W., García, A. F., & Suriá, R. (2007). La Psicología del Uso de las Palabras: Un Programa de Computadora que Analiza Textos en Español [The Psychology of Word Use: A Computer Program that Analyzes Texts in Spanish]. Revista Mexicana de Psicología, 24, 85-99. pdf.

Ramírez-Esparza, N., Chung, C., Kacewicz, E., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2008). The Psychology of Word Use in Depression Forums in English and in Spanish: Testing Two Text Analytic Approaches. Proceedings of the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM 2008). pdf.

*In order to answer these questions we have used the LIWC a text analytic tool developed by Dr Pennebaker. To learn more about LIWC go to Dr. Pennebaker's web page. For the information in Spanish click here.
*To learn more about language in the Spanish-speaking world go to research online.

 
Language, Culture, and Development
As a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington we collected data from monolingual and bilingual infants and we assessed their everyday behaviors, social environment and language use. As part of this project I collaborated with Dr. Garcia-Sierra to collect infants' brain responses.

*Do everyday social behaviors and language use influence infants' well-being and language development?
* What are the differences between monolingual and bilingual families?
* What is the relationship between brain responses and language environment?

Publications
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*In order to answer these questions we have used the Lena Recorder which records continuously for up-to sixteen hours. To learn more about our project  click here .


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