ERIC Number: ED336190
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
The Concept of Human Nature in Three Cultures: A Developmental Approach.
This study compares the concept of human nature in Germany, Java, and the United States. The study assumes cross-cultural similarities in the formal structure of the concept of human nature, while hypothesizing variation in content, for example, in the value systems. Four components of the concept of human nature were presented (personality theory, social/environmental theory, action theory, process of thought). These components were related by a developmental logic forming these stages: (1) stage I: human beings as actors; (2) stage II: human beings as conveyors of psychological entities such as traits and abilities; (3) stage IIIa: the individual as an autonomous identity, organizing a core of single psychological traits and individual action; (4) stage IIIb: identity conceived as mutual identity; and (5) stage IV: identity conceived as societal or cultural identity. In a career dilemma, Javanese subjects showed higher frequencies at Level IIIa and IIIb, while Germans' highest frequency was at IIIb. Americans showed a more equal distribution for all the stages. The family appeared to be more important for Americans than for Germans. Results of the sorting procedure indicate that Germans and Javanese have the goal of changing society and culture to make a better world, while Americans mostly view their society as the best of all comparable societies. (SH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-20, 1991).