Full text: Ownership as interpersonal dominance

tasks no matter how unusual or demanding (Orne, 1962). In retrospect, in the present research, 
it probably would have been better to have used the recall task as pilot research with a smaller 
set of compliant subjects, perhaps paid. The more demanding and exacting research task might 
thus have served to inform and enhance the subsequent survey research. 
Fourth, it is important in cross-cultural semantic research that there be opportunities for 
the respondents to introduce, intentionally or not, terms and concepts that are not part of the 
original research stimulus repertoire. This is necessary if the researcher's imposed etic (Berry, 
1969; 1981) is to be discovered and corrected by successive research efforts. In the present 
study, the two unconstrained tasks served this function, revealing that the semantic spaces for 
both the Cree and the English-Canadians were not fully represented by the stimulus repertoire 
under study. 
This leads to the fifth lesson, that of caution. Cross-cultural semantic research should 
have conservative standards and should strive for minimal claims. In the present research it is 
important to bear in mind that the concept of ownership has been a topic of interest for over two 
millennia within Western scholarship and that there is no final consensus as to what ownership 
means or what functions it serves. Thus, caution is in order when trying to explain ownership 
in another people's society based on limited observations. 
However, because the two psycholinguistic methods of card sorting and scaling produced 
demonstrably non-random data, because the data were analyzed without assumptions of equal 
interval units, of cross-cultural metric equivalence, or of underlying normal distributions, and 
because there was replication of the significant findings across the two research methods, the 
minimal findings can be accepted with some degree of confidence. First, Cree and 
English-Canadian concepts of owning are not completely different; they have somewhat similar 
ordinal valuations of the 24 verbs studied here. Second, relative to the other verbs, control is 
closely related to own in both societies. Although it is common to consider own to be close in 
meaning to possess and have, own meaning control is less commonly considered, but it is a 
finding consistent with the overall hypothesis of this research. Third, control has less of a 
meaning of keep and protect for the Cree and is not a part of the component of ownership 
identified in Study 2 as “dominion”. Fourth, own has more of a meaning of want, need, and 
deserve for the Cree than for the English-Canadians.

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