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  Inter- and intra-cultural variations in self-other boundary: A qualitative-quantitative approach
Title: Inter- and intra-cultural variations in self-other boundary: A qualitative-quantitative approach
Author: Li, Han Z.
Appeared in: International journal of psychology
Paging: Volume 38 (2003) nr. 3 pages 138-149
Year: 2003-06
Contents: Past research on the theories of self-construal and individualism-collectivism in cross-cultural contexts presents inconsistent and inconclusive results. Some researchers have seriously questioned the validity of major instruments measuring self-construal across cultural groups. To address the validity issue, this study developed quantitative measures from ethnographic data. In five scenarios mapping self to close-other boundaries, 171 Anglo-Canadians and 224 Mainland Chinese were asked to make a decision and offer a reason for the decision. Two intriguing findings emerged from the data. (1) In comparison with Anglo-Canadians, Mainland Chinese were more likely to share material belongings with close-others and less likely to share their thoughts/opinions. The first part of this finding provides unequivocal support for the theories of self-construal and individualism-collectivism, whereas the latter part challenges an important assumption of these theories, which contends that collectivists should be more likely than individualists to share everything they own (including opinions) with close-others. This unconventional finding proposes the division of material belongings and thoughts/opinions sharing of the self-other boundary in future cross-cultural self-construal research. (2) There were significant differences in the reasons Canadians and Chinese offered for what they would or would not do in a specific situation. For example, the reasons for not telling the truth about a roommate's nonmatching outfit were “tastes differ from person to person” for a Canadian and “I don't tell others what I think of them” for a Chinese. The Canadians clearly show respect for the other's personal preference and the Chinese were thinking “what can I benefit from telling her the truth?” It was reasoned that underneath the giving and generous Chinese lies a shrewd mind, and underneath the frank Canadian lies a materialistic mind. In conclusion, this article contributes to the field in that it reports pioneering research, via both qualitative and quantitative means, on sharing material belongings and opinions/thoughts in samples from individualistic and collectivistic cultures. The findings of this study illustrate, specify, and challenge the universal utility of the theories of self-construal and individualism-collectivism.
Publisher: Psychology Press
Source file: Elektronische Wetenschappelijke Tijdschriften

                             Details for article 3 of 5 found articles
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