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Science. 2005 Oct 7;310(5745):96-100.

National character does not reflect mean personality trait levels in 49 cultures.

Author information

  • 1National Institute on Aging, NIH, DHHS, Gerontology Research Center, 5600 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA. terraccianoa@grc.nia.nih.gov

Abstract

Most people hold beliefs about personality characteristics typical of members of their own and others' cultures. These perceptions of national character may be generalizations from personal experience, stereotypes with a "kernel of truth," or inaccurate stereotypes. We obtained national character ratings of 3989 people from 49 cultures and compared them with the average personality scores of culture members assessed by observer ratings and self-reports. National character ratings were reliable but did not converge with assessed traits. Perceptions of national character thus appear to be unfounded stereotypes that may serve the function of maintaining a national identity.

PMID:
16210536
PMCID:
PMC2775052
DOI:
10.1126/science.1117199
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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