Dimensions of cultural differences: Pancultural, ETiC/EMiC, and ecological approaches

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We investigated the factorial structure of four major domains in social psychology (personality traits, social attitudes, values, and social norms) with an emphasis on cross-cultural differences. Three distinctive approaches—pancultural, multigroup, and multilevel—were applied to the data based on 22 measures that were collected from 2029 participants from 73 countries. First, in a pancultural approach, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted on the entire sample of participants, disregarding country of origin. Second, in the multigroup (etic/emic) approach, nine societal clusters were fitted using a four-factor model. Several tests of invariance were applied to assess equivalence across the cultures. Finally, a multilevel approach was used to assess the structure at the individual-level and at the between-country (ecological) level. Our results show that the four-factor solution emerges from the cultural domains, and this is supported by all three approaches. The factors are Personality/Social Attitudes, Values, Social Norms, and Conservatism. In the multilevel analysis, only two factors emerge at the ecological (between) level as opposed to four factors at the individual (within) level, but due to methodological difficulties, their status needs to be studied further. We discuss our findings in terms of the inside–out view of social interactions.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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