A cross-cultural study of environmental belief structures in USA, Japan, Mexico, and Peru

Robert B. Bechtel, Victor Corral-Verdugo, Masaaki Asai, Alvaro Gonzalez Riesle

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

73 Citas (Scopus)


Throughout history, the way in which people conceive nature/human relationships has dramatically changed, and different cultures also have divergent notions regarding the role humans play in nature. In Western societies a "new environmental paradigm" (NEP) of ecological nature has apparently replaced the old "human exception paradigm" (HEP), which conceives of humans as being superior and apart from nature. Previous research has shown that, in those societies, a marked dichotomy exist between these two apparently contradictory paradigms, meaning that people who accept the NEP reject the HEP. Countries other than Western ones also exhibit a bias towards the ecological paradigm; however, their world-views are not necessarily dualistic, since they may adhere to the NEP and, simultaneously, believe that human beings are "special." This study compares world-views in four different countries. Responses of 1358 undergraduates from USA, Japan, Mexico, and Peru to the HEP and the NEP scale were analysed to see if they confirmed three factors previously found: (1) a vision of separation from nature (HEP), (2) a necessary "balance" between human needs and nature preservation, and (3) the need to impose "limits" on the human impact on nature. This trifactorial structure was tested using confirmatory factor analysis. USA students exhibited two dimensions (HEP-NEP) and the other samples showed the expected three factors, although they intercorrelated differentially, depending on the national sample. In all samples "balance" and "limits" were positively correlated. In the Peruvian and Japanese samples the HEP and "balance" were negatively correlated while the USA sample produced a negative covariance between HEP and NEP. In the Japanese sample HEP and "limits" were uncorrelated but in Peru these factors covaried negatively, while in the Mexican sample they were positively correlated. The HEP-NEP two-factor structure would seem to be limited to Western nations. More countries need to be measured. © 2006 International Union of Psychological Science.
Idioma originalEspañol
Páginas (desde-hasta)145-151
Número de páginas7
PublicaciónInternational Journal of Psychology
EstadoPublicada - 1 abr. 2006

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