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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009 Aug;97(2):236-55. doi: 10.1037/a0015999.

A cultural task analysis of implicit independence: comparing North America, Western Europe, and East Asia.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. kitayama@umich.edu

Abstract

Informed by a new theoretical framework that assigns a key role to cultural tasks (culturally prescribed means to achieve cultural mandates such as independence and interdependence) in mediating the mutual influences between culture and psychological processes, the authors predicted and found that North Americans are more likely than Western Europeans (British and Germans) to (a) exhibit focused (vs. holistic) attention, (b) experience emotions associated with independence (vs. interdependence), (c) associate happiness with personal achievement (vs. communal harmony), and (d) show an inflated symbolic self. In no cases were the 2 Western European groups significantly different from one another. All Western groups showed (e) an equally strong dispositional bias in attribution. Across all of the implicit indicators of independence, Japanese were substantially less independent (or more interdependent) than the three Western groups. An explicit self-belief measure of independence and interdependence showed an anomalous pattern. These data were interpreted to suggest that the contemporary American ethos has a significant root in both Western cultural heritage and a history of voluntary settlement. Further analysis offered unique support for the cultural task analysis.

PMID:
19634973
DOI:
10.1037/a0015999
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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