chapter  3
30 Pages

Recent Advances in the Cross-Cultural Study of Personality

Cross-cultural comparisons of personality raise three problems which have to be distinguished. The first is whether identical dimensions of personality can be postulated in the cultures being compared. The second relates to the possibility of measurement in the second culture, given that the answer to the first question is in the affirmative. The third question relates to the possibility of effecting a direct comparison between the two cultures; this cannot necessarily be done properly even if the answer to the first problem is in the affirmative. Solutions are suggested to the methodological problems raised, and substantive research in the field is reviewed. It is shown that different methods, such as, questionnaire studies and analyses of demographic indices, give similar results in demonstrating marked differences in personality between different cultures, particularly with respect to extra versionintroversion and neuroticism-stability. Evidence suggests that differences in neuroticism are related to differences in stress, and differences in extraversion and psychoticism (inversely) to differences in per capita income. It is concluded that very similar or identical dimensions can be found in all the different cultures and nations surveyed, and that meaningful differences between them on the major dimensions of personality can be discovered.