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PsychologyOur news, events & seminars

Beyond “West versus East”: Global variation in cultural models of selfhood Seminar

Time:
16:00 - 17:00
Date:
28 May 2015
Venue:
University of Southampton Highfield Campus Building 44 (Shackleton Building) Level 1, Room 1087

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Sue McNally on 023 8059 5150 or email S.McNally@soton.ac.uk .

Event details

Markus and Kitayama’s (1991) theory of independent and interdependent self-construals has massively influenced social/personality and developmental psychology by highlighting the role of culture in psychological processes.

Markus and Kitayama’s (1991) theory of independent and interdependent self-construals has massively influenced social/personality and developmental psychology by highlighting the role of culture in psychological processes. However, research has relied excessively on North American and East Asian samples, and commonly-used explicit measures of independence and interdependence regularly fail to show the predicted cultural differences between “Western” and “Eastern” participants. We revisited the conceptualization and measurement of independent and interdependent self-construals in two large-scale multinational studies, using improved methods for cross-cultural research. Thus, we developed (Study 1: N = 3541 students in 16 nations) and validated (Study 2: N = 8184 adults from 63 cultural groups in 35 nations) a cross-culturally grounded conceptual and measurement model contrasting seven 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 combine different ways of being both independent and interdependent, depending on individualism-collectivism, national economic development, and religious heritage. Our seven-dimensional model will allow future researchers to predict more effectively how cultural models of selfhood affect psychological processes in different parts of the world.

Speaker information

Dr Vivian Vignoles, University of Sussex. My primary research interests are in self and identity, especially motivational processes and the influence of culture and context on identity construction, as well as developing a better understanding of the relationship between individual and social representation processes. A main focus of my current research is to develop an integrated theoretical model of identity motivation applicable to individual, relational and group levels of self-representation. The research involves using multilevel modelling to predict aspects of the organisation of multiple elements of identity content within participants’ subjective identity structures. Results suggest that a theoretical model of identity motivation should include motives to maintain and enhance self-esteem, continuity, distinctiveness, belonging, efficacy and meaning. An additional interest is in cross-cultural and indigenous psychologies. In particular I am interested in describing and understanding the significance for identity and action of cultural representations of the person, the self and groups, both within and across nations and especially among non-student populations. One focus has been the motive for distinctiveness, often assumed to be specific to individualistic cultures. Against this assumption, my research focuses on the different ways in which a sense of distinctiveness may be constructed according to both cultural and contextual influences.

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