Contextualism as an Important Facet of Individualism-Collectivism: Personhood Beliefs Across 37 National Groups

Owe E., Vignoles V. L., Becker M., Brown R., Smith P. B., Lee S. W. S., ...More

JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol.44, no.1, pp.24-45, 2013 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0022022111430255
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.24-45
  • Keywords: individualism-collectivism, personhood beliefs, cross-cultural differences, measurement invariance, SOCIAL AXIOMS, CULTURAL-DIFFERENCES, CORRESPONDENCE BIAS, IMPLICIT THEORIES, UNITED-STATES, VALUES, EQUIVALENCE, ATTRIBUTION, PERCEPTIONS, DIMENSIONS
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


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.