Two dimensions of psychological country-level differences: conservatism/liberalism and harshness/softness

Stankov, Lazar and Lee, Jihyun and van de Vijver, Fons J. R. (2014) Two dimensions of psychological country-level differences: conservatism/liberalism and harshness/softness. Learning and Individual Differences, 30. pp. 22-33. ISSN 1041-6080


We examined dimensions of noncognitive functioning based on the administration of 22 measures of personality, social attitudes, values, and social norms in 35 countries (Ns ranging from 9 to 430; Total N= 1895). Four essentially identical factors were found at individual and country level: Personality/Social Attitudes; Values; Social Norms, and Conservatism. The four factors were correlated at country level, yielding a second-order conservatism/Liberalism (combining Conservatism and Values) and a Harshness/Softness factor (combining Personality/Social Attitudes and Norms). Broad Conservatism/Liberalism is akin to Inglehart's (1997) contrast between survival and well-being; it was negatively correlated with countries' affluence, educational achievement indicators, and measures of mass communication and freedom. The Harshness/Softness factor contrasts countries that are tough and harsh/unforgiving and countries that are warm and tolerant; it is related to Gelfand et al.'s (2011) tightness/looseness dimension. Harshness/Softness factor was (negatively) correlated with death penalty, murder rate and muggings, and the proportion of Christians; it was positively correlated with Minkov's (2011) index of Industry and his index of countries' death penalty application. It is concluded that the domain of noncognitive psychological functioning has a fairly corresponding structure at individual and country levels.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2017 05:35
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2017 05:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: cross-cultural differences; harshness/softness; liberalism/conservatism; multilevel analysis
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5299 Other psychology > 529999 Other psychology not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
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