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THE ONE; THE MANY… Individualism and collectivism: Cross-cultural perspectives on self-ingroup relationships Triandis, et. Al Leah Brown, Elizabeth Flockhart, Denise Rye, Celeste Smith, Amy Sturm. Background. “Behavior never occurs in a vacuum”(211) Examples Personal space Friendship

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THE ONE; THE MANY…Individualism and collectivism: Cross-cultural perspectives on self-ingroup relationshipsTriandis, et. AlLeah Brown, Elizabeth Flockhart, Denise Rye, Celeste Smith, Amy Sturm


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Background

  • “Behavior never occurs in a vacuum”(211)

  • Examples

    • Personal space

    • Friendship

    • Parenting styles

    • Family dynamics


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Background

  • Theory: Individualism-Collectivism Model

    • Used to explain large amounts of variation seen in human behavior, social interaction, and personality

    • Explain differences in people and/or groups

  • How?

    • Collectivist Cultures: individual needs, desires, etc. are secondary to those of the group (Asia)

    • Individualistic Cultures: Higher value on the needs and accomplishments of the individual rather than the group (United States)


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Method

  • Three studies

  • Self-report questionnaires

  • Hypothetical vignettes


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Study #1

  • 300 Psych. Undergrads from U of Chicago

  • 158 item questionnaire measuring tendency toward collectivism vs. individualistic beliefs and behaviors

  • Five scenarios-hypothetical social situations


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Findings

  • 50% of variation in responses explained by three factors

    • Self-reliance

    • Competition

    • Distance from in-groups

  • 14% explained by “concern for ingroup”

  • There is more concern for an individual’s own self than for the group


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Study # 2

  • 91 students from U. of Chicago

  • 97 Puerto Rican students

  • 150 Japanese students

  • 106 older Japanese individuals


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Study #2

  • 144 item questionnaire measuring collectivist characteristics

  • Items from questionnaire show previous studies deal with three collectivist-related tendencies

    • Concern for in-group

    • Closeness of self to in-group

    • Subordination of own goals to in-group goals


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Findings

  • Japanese students more concerned with opinions of friends and coworkers in relation to U. of Chicago. No relation between Puerto Rican students and others

  • Japanese students found less conformity than Chicago students because of Westernizing

    • Evidence that this has changed: the 106 older Japanese individuals showed more conformity


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Warnings for Study #2

“Conclusions about collectivist and individualistic cultures shouldn’t be overly sweeping and must be carefully applied to selective, specific behaviors, situations, and cultures”(216)


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Study #3

  • Attempt to restrict and sharpen research focus

  • Extending previous findings

  • 72 items, 100 subjects

  • Comparison between U. of Chicago and U. of Puerto Rico

  • Answered questions about perceived amount of social support and perceived amount of loneliness


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Findings

  • Collectivism was positively correlated with social support

  • Collectivism was negatively associated with loneliness

  • American students most variance resulted from “self-reliance with competition”

  • Puerto Ricans were influenced by “affiliation”


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The studies supported the theory, but there were changes in the definition of collectivism and individualism

Individualism and collectivism previously seen as opposites, but Triandis explains it as a continuum

In Summary…


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Collectivist-individualistic cultural continuum


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Significance

  • A little discussion…

    • What significance do you find from Triandis’ findings?

  • Health

  • Education

  • Childrearing & Parenting


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Recent Applications

  • This study cited in over 200 other articles in a variety of scientific fields

  • Theory applied to self-esteem studies

  • Theory applied in a cross-cultural approach to look at children’s reactions to people with disabilities


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Important Application of Theory

Theory doesn’t only have to be applied to comparisons between countries, but can be applied within countries


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More Discussion…

  • What states would you predict have more collectivist or more individualistic tendencies?

  • Do you see any possible faults with this study? What could you do to improve it?

  • Do these findings apply to you, and do you think you can be categorized as an individualistic or collectivist?


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