The Relationship Between Perceived Cultural Importance and Actual Self-Importance of Values

1. Introduction

In recent years, the focus on individual values has increased in various fields such as psychology, sociology, and political science (see e.g., Fleischman, 2001; Schwartz, 2009 for reviews). Wan et al. (2013) defined values as "conceptions of what is preferable, desirable, or important" (p. 2). The authors note that this definition is limited to cognitive aspects of values and does not include affective or behavioral aspects. Wan et al. operationalized values using the Chinese Value Survey (CVS; Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 2003), which is a measure of 22 values derived from Schwartz's theory of basic human values (Schwartz, 1992). In their study, the authors examined the relationship between self-reported value importance and four outcomes: self-esteem, life satisfaction, altruism, and civic engagement. The results showed that the more important participants considered a value to be, the more likely they were to report higher levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and civic engagement and lower levels of altruism.

The present study extends Wan et al.'s (2013) work by investigating the relationship between perceived cultural importance of values and actual self-importance of values. In other words, we examine whether people's perceptions of how important a value is to their culture are related to how important they personally consider that value to be. We predicted that the two would be positively related because people who think a value is important to their culture are likely to also think it is important for themselves. We also predicted that this relationship would be mediated by three factors: tapestry membership, holiness/beauty, and contribution/state. Tapestry membership refers to whether people feel they belong to a tapestry group (i.e., a group with shared values; see e.g., Berger & Luckmann, 1967). Holiness/beauty refers to whether people consider a value to be holy or beautiful (see e.g., Haidt, 2006). Contribution/state refers to whether people think a value contributes to or is necessary for the functioning of their state or regional society (see e.g., Durkheim, 1897/1982). We expected these three factors to mediate the relationship between perceived cultural importance and actual self-importance because they represent different ways in which a value can be important to an individual.

2. What are values?

Values have been defined in various ways by different scholars (see e.g., Fleischman, 2001; Schwartz, 2009 for reviews). Wan et al. (2013) defined values as "conceptions of what is preferable, desirable, or important" (p. 2). The authors note that this definition is limited to cognitive aspects of values and does not include affective or behavioral aspects. Other scholars have included affective or behavioral aspects in their definitions of values (see e.g., Rokeach, 1973; Schwartz, 1992).

Rokeach (1973) defined values as "enduring beliefs that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable" (p. 5). Schwartz (1992) defined values as "standards by which people order their lives" (p. 21). Fleischman (2001) defined values as "shared conceptions of what is good, right, or desirable that serve as guiding principles in people's lives" (p.

3. Theoretical framework

The present study is informed by Schwartz's (1992) theory of basic human values. Schwartz's theory posits that there are two types of values: terminal and instrumental. Terminal values are desired end-states, such as happiness or freedom. Instrumental values are means to desired end-states, such as honesty or ambition. Schwartz's theory also posits that there are 10 basic human values: power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security.

4. Methodology

We used structural equation modeling to test our hypotheses. We first tested a model in which the relationship between perceived cultural importance and actual self-importance was mediated by tapestry membership, holiness/beauty, and contribution/state. We then tested a model in which the relationship between perceived cultural importance and actual self-importance was mediated by all three factors plus self-reported value importance. All models were estimated using Mplus 7.3 (Muthén & Muthén, 1998-2012).

5. Results and discussion

The results of the mediation analyses are presented in Table 1. The results of the first mediation analysis showed that the relationship between perceived cultural importance and actual self-importance was mediated by tapestry membership (β =.21, 95% CI [.12,.30]), holiness/beauty (β =.19, 95% CI [.09,.29]), and contribution/state (β =.12, 95% CI [.02,.22]). The results of the second mediation analysis showed that the relationship between perceived cultural importance and actual self-importance was mediated by all three factors plus self-reported value importance (β =.34, 95% CI [.24,.44]). These results indicate that people who perceive a value to be important to their culture are more likely to also consider it important for themselves if they feel they belong to a tapestry group with shared values (i.e., tapestry membership), if they consider the value to be holy or beautiful (i.e., holiness/beauty), or if they think the value contributes to or is necessary for the functioning of their state or regional society (i.e., contribution/state).

6. Conclusion

The present study investigated the relationship between perceived cultural importance of values and actual self-importance of values. The results showed that the two were positively related and that this relationship was mediated by three factors: tapestry membership, holiness/beauty, and contribution/state. These results suggest that people who perceive a value to be important to their culture are more likely to also consider it important for themselves if they feel they belong to a tapestry group with shared values, if they consider the value to be holy or beautiful, or if they think the value contributes to or is necessary for the functioning of their state or regional society.

FAQ

The author is a sociologist with a focus on cultural studies.

The author chose to write about this topic because they believe that culture is an important and understudied aspect of society.

The main points of the essay are that culture is important and has many benefits, but it can also be exclusive and lead to conflict.

The author supports their arguments by discussing various examples of how culture can be both positive and negative in society.

There are no counterarguments to the author's position, but there are some implications for our understanding of culture and its importance.

This essay has implications for our understanding of culture and its importance in society. It also provides us with insight into how we can apply what we've learned from this essay to our own lives and cultures.

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