Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jet Lag and Culture Lag

Jet lag, by Wikipedia, is medically referred to a dysenchronosis. It is a physiological condition from rapid long-distance trans meridian (east-west or west-east) travel usually by airplane. This results from alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms. A circadian rhythm is an endogenously driven roughly 24-hour cycle in biochemical, physiological, or behavioral processes. But most of us think that the word lag is mostly used with the word ‘jet’ during travel. To be lagged can also be psychological and this expression known as either cultural jet lag/social jet lag.

Cultural jet lag was first coined by psychologist Marc Perraud. He invented the word when he was doing cross-cultural psychology research. He defines cultural jet lag as phenomenon of partial socialization in adults born from bi-cultural/national unions and whose childhood was characterized by nomadic displacement during key personality development stages.

For example, an American child, born in Thailand with American parents, lived in Thailand for a long time and decided to go back to America. The child who grew up in Thailand, so she is surrounded by a Thai culture which she may have absorbed some or most of it. Her parents are American so she is brought up by an American home but still her environment is a strong element that will still influence her as a person. So when she goes back to America the environment would surely be not the same. It would be hard for her to adopt the culture to blend in. Jet lag or culture lag it is, we don’t want either of it.

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