by University of Sussex
Originally published: August 3, 2016
A major international research project led by a University of Sussex academic provides new evidence that the common belief in a cultural divide between the West and the rest of the world is little more than a myth.
Cultural psychologists have long argued that people living in Western cultures show a rather distinctive pattern of self-beliefs, compared to those who live in other parts of the world. Westerners, it is claimed, are unusual in that they tend to see themselves as independent from others. A sharp contrast between Western "independence" and non-Western "interdependence" has been at the heart of psychologists' thinking about cultural diversity for the last 25 years.
The new research, involving 73 researchers working in 35 nations and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), explored how people of different cultures see themselves and their relationships with others. The research involved 10,000 participants from over 50 cultural groups spanning all inhabited continents.