Independence and interdependence are culturally interrelated in risk event assessment


Research on cultural differences in risk studies has shown that tendencies in the maintenance of certain views and representations differ across cultures (Heine & Lehman, 1995). The point here is that “cultures may differ in their emphasis on two types of tasks: independence (i.e. task related to agency and autonomy) and interdependence (i.e. tasks related to communion and affiliation)” (Oltedal et al., 2004, p. 13). Emphasis on the interrelatedness of the individual to others and the environment can lead to less optimism in people that belong to the group or community. For instance, studies that have dealt with the differences in optimism between Canadian and Japanese students showed that the interdependent Japanese assessed events to be more severe than did independent Canadians (Heine & Lehman, 1995; see also Hayakawa, Fischbech, & Fischhoff, 2000; Lajunen, Corry, Summala, & Hartley, 1998).

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