Toward a new approach to the study of personality in culture
Cheung, Fanny M.
Van de Vijver, Alphonsius Josephus Rachel (Fons)
Leong, Frederick T.L.
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We review recent developments in the study of culture and personality measurement. Three approaches are described: an etic approach that focuses on establishing measurement equivalence in imported measures of personality, an emic (indigenous) approach that studies personality in specific cultures, and a combined emic-etic approach to personality. We propose the latter approach as a way of combining the methodological rigor of the etic approach and the cultural sensitivity of the emic approach. The combined approach is illustrated by two examples: the first with origins in Chinese culture and the second in South Africa. The article ends with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of the combined emic-etic approach for the study of culture and personality and for psychology as a science.