Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Collectivism Vs. Individualism

Western cultures ( Individualism) emphasize on assertiveness, expressiveness, and competitiveness and Eastern and Southern cultures( collectivism ) emphasize on group harmony and cooperation.

Comparison between the individual characteristics and interaction of  western and eastern cultures:

1. Temperament: Western culture that values assertiveness and independence view this behavior as shyness, fearfulness, and social incompetence, whereas; Eastern culture views this behavior as compliance, obedience and being well mannered.

2. Pro-social behavior: ( helping, sharing, caring).
Researchers has found out by observing among peers and parent child interaction that pro-social behavior is more prevalent among children from eastern culture than western cultures.

3. Cooperation/ competition:  In general children from collectivism countries are more cooperative and less competitive than westernized countries, however; cooperation and competition seems to vary from one person to another and also the new generation seems to be more competitive in even in Collectivism countries.

4. Aggression: Most cultures view physical and verbal aggression  unacceptable and it Leeds to peer rejection in most countries.

5. Social withdrawal: Research has found that the prevalence of reticent behavior is higher among eastern culture than western cultures.

6: Peer relationships: (Friendship varies form one culture to another culture. In some cultures children rarely engage in non-families friendship and some families and some cultures mostly in Eastern cultures spend most of their time with their immediate and extended families.

7. Play: Asian family tend to see child's play as a subject in itself rather than a means for supporting academic experiences. Children spend lot of their time in activities know as academically oriented experiences in their daily schedules (Pan, 1994; Takeuchi, 1994). These beliefs are highly valued and encouraged by the ethnic culture.
On the other hand, if the child is from a nuclear family, especially from Euro-American cultural background who emphasize in individualism, self reliance, individual problem solving, self-help, then interaction tend to be more object-oriented than group oriented. Children in these culture have numerous opportunities to manipulate objects-functional and fully finished commercial toys. In Individualism culture, the child may have great deal of experience exploring objects and the relations between self and objects.
Western children tend to engage in more socio-dramatic activities than children other areas especially in group-oriented cultures. for example: researchers have found that Korean American preschool children displayed less social and pretend play than Anglo-American children. Furthermore, When Korean children engaged in pretended play, they reflected more everyday and family role activities and less fantastic themes (e.g. action related to legend or fairy tale characters that do not exit).

8.peer sociability: Peer sociability in collectivist societies, which stress group harmony, differs from that in Western individualistic cultures. 'For exampler: Children in India generally play in large groups that requires high levels of cooperation. Much of their behaviours is imitative, occurs in unison, and involves close physicla contact. In a game called Atiya Piatiy, children sit in a circle, join hands, and swing while they recite a jingle. In Bhatto Bhatto, they act out a scrip about a trip to the market , touching each other's elbows and hands as they pretend to cut and share a tasty vegetable (Roopnarince et al., 1994)'.


Berk, Laura, E., & Shanker, Stuart, G. (2006). Child Development (2nd Cdn. Ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Education Canada Inc.

Rubin, K. Melissa, M. (2010). Culture and Social Development. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.

Chen, X. (2009). Culture and Early Socio-Emotional Development. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.

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