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Psychol Sci. 2017 Sep;28(9):1228-1239. doi: 10.1177/0956797617700622. Epub 2017 Jul 13.

Global Increases in Individualism.

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1 Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo.
2 Department of Psychology, Arizona State University.


Individualism appears to have increased over the past several decades, yet most research documenting this shift has been limited to the study of a handful of highly developed countries. Is the world becoming more individualist as a whole? If so, why? To answer these questions, we examined 51 years of data on individualist practices and values across 78 countries. Our findings suggest that individualism is indeed rising in most of the societies we tested. Despite dramatic shifts toward greater individualism around the world, however, cultural differences remain sizable. Moreover, cultural differences are primarily linked to changes in socioeconomic development, and to a lesser extent to shifts in pathogen prevalence and disaster frequency.


change over time; cross-cultural differences; cultural change; individualism; open data; social ecology

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