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Cultural Values

Lisa M. Edwards and Keyona M. Jarrett

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Cultural values are the aspects of life which a group views as important and desirable. These values reflect the goals, morals, and wishes of a group, such as the way one should live, the priorities one should have, and the understanding that one has about one's place in the world. Cultural values can be influenced by various features of the environment and history, including socioeconomic status, gender, race/ethnicity geographic location, acculturation level, and religion. Members of cultural groups often share common values, attitudes, and behaviors. However, within any group there are differences in the amount to which an individual adheres or espouses a particular value. For example, Mexican Americans, African Americans, and Chinese Americans may share cultural values that reflect mainstream US culture, but they may also possess cultural values that are unique to their ethnic group and background. Many cultural values have been noted by anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists and others who study humans, culture and social interactions. Some of the most common include individualism and collectivism, time orientation, familism, and religion/spirituality. One of the most commonly discussed cultural values is individualism and collectivism. Individualism, which is most common in Western society, is reflected by a belief in independence and self-determination. In individualistic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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