Cultural Differences in self-concept

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  • Markus and Kitayama (1991) presented two fundamentally different senses of self by contrasting the Western or individualistic construal of self as independent self and interdependent construal of self, which is more seen in non-Western, collectivistic cultures. Their concepts offer a prime example of how self-concepts may differ across cultures and provide a conceptual framework within which to understand the influence of culture on self.Markus and Kitayama’s concept increased our awareness of the influence of culture on self and individual behaviors. However, some scholars, such as Triandis (1994) and Matsumoto (1999), argue that it is possible for one individual to hold both aspects of self. Here, they point out the importance of taking contextual variables, such as individual’s experience and cultural situation, into consideration in assessing self-construal.For this discussion, respond to the following:
    • Is your self-construal more independent or interdependent or a combination of both?
    • What situations have you acted on based on an independent construal of self?
    • What situations have you acted on based on an interdependent construal of self?
    • What is the role of culture in a person’s view of oneself?

    Include scholarly sources to support your points on self-construals and the influence of culture.


    Markus, H., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and self: Implications for cognition, emotion and motivation. Psychological Review, 98, 224–253.Matsumoto, D. (1999). Culture and self: An empirical assessment of Markus and Kitayama’s theory of independent and interdependent self-construal. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 2(3), 289–310.Triandis, H. (1994). Culture and social behavior. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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