The Changing Chinese Dragon: Implications for (Cross-) Cultural Psychology in a Globalized World

  • Author / Creator
    Zhang, Rui
  • Applying a hybridization framework that conceptualizes culture as a dynamic and open system, the overall objective of this dissertation is to illuminate some psychological consequences of sociocultural change in contemporary China. Although (cross-) cultural psychology tends to portray China as an archetype of collectivistic cultures, there is some evidence for a cultural shift in contemporary China in a more individualistic direction propelled by socioeconomic transition and intercultural contact, changes commonly associated with globalization processes in academic discourse. Seven studies were conducted to test this general premise. Study 1a, Study1b, and Study 2 were informed by the intersubjective approach to culture (Chiu, Gelfand, Yamagishi, Shteynberg, & Wan, 2010) and measured intersubjective culture in terms of basic values (Schwartz, 1992). Chinese students’ perception of contemporary Chinese values corresponded with the direction of sociocultural change in China. Contemporary Chinese values were perceived to shift away from traditional Chinese values, yet remain distinct from Western values. Study 3a and 3b examined change in personal values. Chinese students’ personal values were consistently more congruent with perceived Western and contemporary Chinese values than perceived traditional Chinese values (Study 3a). Study 3b cast a wider net in the three-wave (1994-2007) Chinese datasets from the World Values Survey and found both cultural stability and cultural change in personal values and other empirically validated indicators of individualism-collectivism. Moreover, Study 4a and 4b investigated the effect of sociocultural change on the tendency to make self-enhancing social comparisons (Alicke & Govorun, 2005), which is typically seen in individualistic cultures. Employing experimental priming and survey methods and two different operationalizations, the last two studies provided evidence for the rising self-enhancement tendency in contemporary China. Finally, comparisons with Chinese Canadians (Study 2 and Study 4b) provided additional support that the demonstrated psychological consequences were unique to China. Implications of these findings for existing approaches to culture and cultural change were discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Psychology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Noels, Kimberly (Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Noels, Kimberly (Psychology)
    • Chiu, Chi-yue (Business)
    • Hasmath, Reza (Political Science)
    • Masuda, Takahiko (Psychology)
    • Schimel, Jeff (Psychology)