PSY101 Introduction To Cultural Psychology

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Write about Self concept in individualistic versus collective cultures.



Different cultures hold different ideas, values and thoughts, which they classify as important or less important.

The element of self-concept is a person’s belief about themselves, as well as their attributes regarding who and what they are (MacLeod (2008)).

MacLeod (2008) explains that the two main components of self-concept are the existential self and the categorical self.

The existential self, which is the basic scheme of self-concept, gives the individual a sense that they are separate. The categorical se allows them to see the objects in the world.

The self-concept identifies whether a culture has an individualistic or collective mindset.

Individualistic cultures consider individuals to be independent and capable of achieving their own success (Bochner (2012)).

The message of individual achievement and individuality is also a positive for an individualistic society.

One of the main principles of this culture is self-reliance and freedom. It also indicates that individuals believe that independence, self-determination and freedom are key factors in success (Oshi. Scimmack. Diener and Suh 1998).

However, a collectivistic society associates one’s identity to the participation in or large part of various roles within a group like a family (Del Prado, et al.

Collectiveivism beliefs focus on the inclusion or participation of an individual within a larger group in their social environment.

Examples of such cultures include the developing countries such as Mexico and Philippines (Del Prado and al.

Johnson, Shavitt and Lalwani (2012) examined how self-concept affected cultural orientation between the individualism and collectivism cultures.

Collectivists are more likely to engage themselves in socially desirable behaviors and deceit towards maintaining good relationships with others, according to the research.

Individualists were seen as sincere and honest because they encouraged people to be self-reliant.

The study results shed light on the differences in self-concept between cultures and their social influence on determining the bonds within a community (Lalwani, et al.

Bochner (2012) carried out a cross-cultural analysis to examine the differences in self-concept between Malaysian (collectivists), British (Individualists) individuals. The study used allocentric and idiocentric self reference.

Bochner (2012) concluded that an idiocentric self reference is one where individuals are focused solely on their own behavior. An allocentric personality is the typical example of collectivistic behavior, in which they focus their attention on other people.

According to the Hofstede’s Model, the study revealed that the collectivists produced fewer idiocentric self references than did their individualist counterpart (Bochner (2012)).

Study Goal

The study sought to determine self-perceptions and self-concepts in different cultures and countries.

The self-concept statement was tabulated in both idiocentric and allocentric scores. These scores were then grouped together and compared to Hofstede Individualism Index (for different countries) to determine the study findings.

Hypothesis Statement

H1: Increases in individualism index scores are closely related to an increase of idiocentric statement scores.

H2: Individualism index rating is in a moderate relationship with group score

H3: The Individualism index ratings have a negative relationship with both allocentric and group scores.

A convenient sampling technique was used to select 293 undergraduate psychology majors from one university in Singapore.

Out of the 293 participants 69 were males, and 219 were females.

Their average age was 23.92, with a standard deviation (9.08) and a range of 17-56 years.

However, only 18.4% were from Singapore, 57% came from Australia, and the remainder (24%) were from other countries.

The participants were free to choose and there was no incentive.

The participants were required to sign an informed consent before the study design was submitted to the Institution review Board.


The seven-item questionnaire was used in the study. It asked questions that were designed to assess self-concept (or self) and began with “I am”.

Additionally, the questions were meant to assess participants’ self description and to help them separate the responses into three groups: the idiocentric (group), allocentric (references) and the allocentric (references).

From the top to the bottom, each statement received a score from 7 to the top, in descending order, up to the 1st statement.


Participants were selected in their respective lecture rooms to be part-time or full time students.

The 293 participants received a two-sided piece paper with questions.

The questions were in “I am” statements that related to the participants’ experience during the curriculum period.

After that, participants were asked to form small groups with three people and share their answers to the “I’m” question statements. Then they were asked to also share their statements in class.

The Statistical Package for Social Scientists was used to calculate the scores and tabulate them.


Descriptive statistics

Rating Individualism

Individualism scores were calculated based on countries’ individualism ratings.

The individualism rating of a country can be based on 100 points. A low score is indicative that the participant may be collectivist while high scores are associated with ideal individualism.

22.5% came from a nation rated 20/100. 57% came from a nation rated 90/100.

20% of the remaining participants were from other countries. This indicates that participants are more individualist.

Scores for Idiocentric, Allocentric and Group Scoring

The mean score for idiocentric scores stood at 17.36. The standard deviation was 5.48. Maximum score of 24 was reached, and minimum score was 2.

The mean indicates that more participants were idiocentric. This is a measure for individualism.

The highest Group score was 22.0 and the lowest was 0.00 (M= 9.314, SD= 4.46).

The allocentric score lowest score was 0.00 and the highest was 7, (M = 1.167 SD = 1.76). This suggests that only a few participants were collectivistic.

Correlation Analysis

The purpose of the correlation analysis was to determine the size and direction in which Individualism Index Rating (IIR), personal scores on three categories scores for idiocentric or group, and allocentric, influenced the relationship.

The analysis used the Pearson’s Correlation (a parametric test).

The study revealed a moderate positive correlation of the IIR score and the idiocentric statement score (r (291) = 0.56, P > 0.01, 2 tailed).

The results supported H1, the hypothesis that individual idiocentric statements score increases with an increase in Individualism Index rating.

The study showed a moderately negative correlation between IIR scores and Group statements scores (r (291) = -0.56, p 0.01, 2 tails). This support the H2, which stated that the Individualism Index Rating increases, so the number of group responses decreases.

Finally, there was a weak negative correlation between IIR (r(291) = 0.28, P 0.01, 2-tailed). The result didn’t support H3, which claimed that the two variables did not have a relationship.

The IRR increased with the decrease in allocentric responses.


The study proved to be a successful one. It examined how individuals’ self conceptions were integrated into both individualistic and collectivistic cultures.

It is possible to use the allocentric, idiocentric, and group-related questions statements to determine how participants feel about individualism or collectivism.

It was clear that the IIR and idiocentric statements had significant relationships. This is because countries that are characterized by individualistic culture (characterized as high IIR score) had most participants who identified themselves as being idiocentric.

The data revealed that individualistic statements increased with increasing IIR scores. 57% of participants came from countries with IIRs of 90. This could have contributed to the high average score for the Iidiocentric statements (M = 17.36), compared to the Allocentric or Group scores.

The correlation result was statistically significant at the 1% significance level.

The correlation result was statistically significant at 1% significance level.

Additionally, group answers declined as the IIR increased. This indicates that participants believed they were attached to individualism philosophy and culture in their respective country.

Lalwani et. al.

According to Lalwani and colleagues (2012), individualists are less likely to engage in socially desired responses.

As many participants were individualists, the IIR would increase and group responses would drop. This indicates that individualists don’t engage in socially desirable responses.

The IIR score also showed that allocentric answers declined with IIR. This suggests that people with allocentric self conception are more attached to collectivism philosophy. However many participants were individualists so they preferred to act independently and not share their responses.

This aspect explains the decrease in allocentric scores with IIR.

Future studies will likely consider a larger sampling size, evenly distributed across the countries selected, and a comprehensive scale to measure selfconcept.

Refer to

Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 25, 273-283

Culture and self-concept flexibility.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28: 1508-1517.

Individuality in Japan and the United States: Cross-cultural priming.

InternationalJournal of Intercultural Relations. 34(11), 429-435.

Journal of Research in Personality, 41. 1119-1160.

Simply Psychology.

What Is the Relationship Between Cultural Orientation, Socially Desirable Responding and Cultural Orientation?

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 90(1), 165–178.

The Measurement Of Values and Individualism- Collectivism.

Society of Personality and Social Psychology, Inc, 24, 1177-1189.

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