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Regular version of the site

Article

Beyond the ‘East-West’ Dichotomy: Global Variation in Cultural Models of Selfhood

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 2016. Vol. 145. No. 8. P. 966-1000.
Vignoles V. L., Owe E., Becker M., Smith P. B., Easterbrook M. J., Brown R., González R., Didier N., Carrasco D., Paz M., Schwartz S. J., Des Rosiers S. E., Villamar J. A., Gavreliuc A., Zinkeng M., Kreuzbauer R., Baguma P., Martin M., Tatarko A., Herman G., de Sauvage I., Courtois M., et al. ..

Markus and Kitayama’s (1991) theory of independent and interdependent self-construals had a major influence on social, personality and developmental psychology by highlighting the role of culture in psychological processes. However, research has relied excessively on contrasts between North American and East Asian samples, and commonly-used self-report measures of independence and interdependence frequently fail to show predicted cultural differences. We revisited the conceptualization and measurement of independent and interdependent self-construals in two large-scale multinational surveys, using improved methods for cross-cultural research. We developed (Study 1: N = 2924 students in 16 nations) and validated across cultures (Study 2: N = 7279 adults from 55 cultural groups in 33 nations) a new seven-dimensional model of self-reported ways of being independent or interdependent. Patterns of global variation support some of Markus and Kitayama’s predictions, but a simple contrast between independence and interdependence does not adequately capture the diverse models of selfhood that prevail in different world regions. Cultural groups emphasize different ways of being both independent and interdependent, depending on individualism-collectivism, national socioeconomic development, and religious heritage. Our seven-dimensional model will allow future researchers to test more accurately the implications of cultural models of selfhood for psychological processes in diverse ecocultural contexts