Contextualism as an important facet of individualism-collectivism

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Publication Details

Subtitle: Personhood beliefs across 37 national groups
Author list: Koller S, Owe, E., Vignoles, V.L., Becker, M.ª, Brown, R.
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Publication year: 2013
Volume number: 44
Issue number: 1
Start page: 24
End page: 45
Number of pages: 22
ISSN: 0022-0221
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


Beliefs about personhood are understood to be a defining feature of individualism-collectivism (I-C), but they have been insufficiently explored, given the emphasis of research on values and self-construals. We propose the construct of contextualism, referring to beliefs about the importance of context in understanding people, as a facet of cultural collectivism. A brief measure was developed and refined across 19 nations (Study 1: N = 5,241), showing good psychometric properties for cross-cultural use and correlating well at the nation level with other supposed facets and indicators of I-C. In Study 2 (N = 8,652), nation-level contextualism predicted ingroup favoritism, corruption, and differential trust of ingroup and outgroup members, while controlling for other facets of I-C, across 35 nations. We conclude that contextualism is an important part of cultural collectivism. This highlights the importance of beliefs alongside values and self-representations and contributes to a wider understanding of cultural processes. © The Author(s) 2013.


Culture, Psychology


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