Two dimensions of psychological country-level differences: Conservatism/Liberalism and Harshness/Softness
Van de Vijver, Fons J.R.
MetadataShow full item record
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.