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The Handbook of Culture and Psychology$
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David Matsumoto and Hyisung C. Hwang

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190679743

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190679743.001.0001

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Dimensions of Cultural Variation

Dimensions of Cultural Variation

(p.67) 3 Dimensions of Cultural Variation
The Handbook of Culture and Psychology

Peter B. Smith

Oxford University Press

To understand cultural differences, we need to find ways to characterize the variations in the social contexts in which people are located. To do so, we must focus on differences between contexts rather than differences between individuals. Most research of this type has examined differences between nations in terms of dimensions. Treating each nation as a unit, contrasts have been identified in terms of values, beliefs, self-descriptions, and social norms. The most influential difference identified concerned the dimension of individualism–collectivism, which has provided the theoretical framework for numerous studies. The validity of this type of investigation rests on close attention to aspects of measurement to ensure that respondents are able to make the necessary judgments and to respond in ways that are not affected by measurement bias. Where many nations are sampled, multilevel modeling can be used to show the ways in which dimensions of culture affect social behaviors.

Keywords:   levels of analysis, Hofstede, Individualism–collectivism, power distance, GLOBE Project, World Values Survey, social axioms, self-construal, social norms, response styles

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