Beyond the 'East-West' dichotomy: Global variation in cultural models of selfhood

Vivian L. Vignoles, Ellinor Owe, Maja Becker, Peter B. Smith, Matthew J. Easterbrook, Rupert Brown, Roberto González, Nicolas Didier, Diego Carrasco, Maria Paz Cadena, Siugmin Lay, Seth J. Schwartz, Sabrina E. Des Rosiers, Juan A. Villamar, Alin Gavreliuc, Martina Zinkeng, Robert Kreuzbauer, Peter Baguma, Mariana Martin, Alexander TatarkoGinette Herman, Isabelle de Sauvage, Marie Courtois, Ragna B. Gardarsdóttir, Charles Harb, Inge Schweiger Gallo, Paula Prieto Gil, Raquel Lorente Clemares, Gabriella Campara, George Nizharadze, Ma Elizabeth J. Macapagal, Baland Jalal, David Bourguignon, Jianxin Zhang, Shaobo Lv, Aneta Chybicka, Masaki Yuki, Xiao Zhang, Agustín Espinosa, Aune Valk, Sami Abuhamdeh, Benjamin Amponsah, Emre Özgen, E. Ülkü Guner, Nil Yamakoglu, Phatthanakit Chobthamkit, Tom Pyszczynski, Pelin Kesebir, Elvia Vargas Trujillo, Paola Balanta, Boris Cendales Ayala, Silvia H. Koller, Jas Laile Jaafar, Nicolay Gausel, Ronald Fischer, Taciano L. Milfont, Ersin Kusdil, Selinay Çağlar, Said Aldhafri, M. Cristina Ferreira, Kassahun Habtamu Mekonnen, Qian Wang, Márta Fülöp, Ana Torres, Leoncio Camino, Flavia Cristina Silveira Lemos, Immo Fritsche, Bettina Möller, Camillo Regalia, Claudia Manzi, Maria Brambilla, Michael Harris Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

284 Scopus citations


Markus and Kitayama's (1991) theory of independent and interdependent self-construals had a major influence on social, personality, and developmental psychology by highlighting the role of culture in psychological processes. However, research has relied excessively on contrasts between North American and East Asian samples, and commonly used self-report measures of independence and interdependence frequently fail to show predicted cultural differences. We revisited the conceptualization and measurement of independent and interdependent self-construals in 2 large-scale multinational surveys, using improved methods for cross-cultural research. We developed (Study 1: N = 2924 students in 16 nations) and validated across cultures (Study 2: N = 7279 adults from 55 cultural groups in 33 nations) a new 7-dimensional model of self-reported ways of being independent or interdependent. Patterns of global variation support some of Markus and Kitayama's predictions, but a simple contrast between independence and interdependence does not adequately capture the diverse models of selfhood that prevail in different world regions. Cultural groups emphasize different ways of being both independent and interdependent, depending on individualism-collectivism, national socioeconomic development, and religious heritage. Our 7-dimensional model will allow future researchers to test more accurately the implications of cultural models of selfhood for psychological processes in diverse ecocultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)966-1000
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Culture
  • Independence-interdependence
  • Self-construals


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