Contextualism as an important facet of individualism-collectivism: Personhood beliefs across 37 national groups

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Beliefs about personhood are understood to be a defining feature of individualism-collectivism (I-C), but they have been insufficiently explored, given the emphasis of research on values and self-construals. We propose the construct of contextualism, referring to beliefs about the importance of context in understanding people, as a facet of cultural collectivism. A brief measure was developed and refined across 19 nations (Study 1: N = 5,241), showing good psychometric properties for cross-cultural use and correlating well at the nation level with other supposed facets and indicators of I-C. In Study 2 (N = 8,652), nation-level contextualism predicted ingroup favoritism, corruption, and differential trust of ingroup and outgroup members, while controlling for other facets of I-C, across 35 nations. We conclude that contextualism is an important part of cultural collectivism. This highlights the importance of beliefs alongside values and self-representations and contributes to a wider understanding of cultural processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-45
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • cross-cultural differences
  • individualism-collectivism
  • measurement invariance
  • personhood beliefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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