Contextualism as an important facet of individualism-collectivism: personhood beliefs across 37 national groups

E. Owe, V.L. Vignoles, M. Becker, R. Brown, P.B. Smith, S.W. Lee, M. Easterbrook, T. Gadre, X. Zhang, Mirona Gheorghiu, P. Baguma, A. Tatarko, S. Aldhafri, M. Zinkeng, S.J. Schwartz, Y. Shneyderman, J. Villamar, K.H. Mekonnen, C. Regalia, C. ManziM. Brambilla, E. Caglar, A. Gavriliuc, M. Martin, Z. Jianxin, S. Lv, R. Fischer, T. Milfont, A. Torres, L. Camino, R. Kreuzbauer, N. Gausel, J. Buitendach, F. Lemos, I. Fritsche, B. Moller, C. Harb, A. Valk, A. Espinosa, J.L. Jaafar, M. Yuki, M.C. Ferreira, P. Chobthamkit, M. Fulop, A. Chybicka, Q. Wang, M.H. Bond, R. Gonzalez, N. Didier, D. Carrasco, M.P. Cadena, S. Lay, R. Gardarsdottir, G. Nizharadze, T. Pyszczynski, P. Kesebir, G. Herman, D. Bourguignon, I. De Sauvage, E. Ozgen, U.E. Guner, N. Yamakoglu, S. Abuhamdeh, M. Macapagal, S.H. Koller, B. Amponsah, G. Misra, P. Kapur, E.V. Trujillo, P. Balanta, B.C. Ayala, I.S. Gallo, P.P. Gill, R.L. Clemares, G. Campara, B. Jalal

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66 Citations (Scopus)


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 = 7,623), nation-level contextualism predicted ingroup favoritism, corruption and differential trust of ingroup and outgroup members, while controlling for other facets of I-C, across 34 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-45
JournalJournal of Cross-cultural Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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