Contrary to traditional views of North Americans as strongly individualistic, accumulating evidence indicates that they are actually also highly collectivistic, or group-oriented, when compared to people in other parts of the world. Review of previous findings suggest an alternative view; cultural differences in group-behavior and psychology does not reside in the levels of collectivism, or the strength and amount of identity and loyalty to the group, but rather in the type of psychological processes that bring about those phenomena: specifically, an orientation towards intergroup differentiation and comparisons in North American cultures versus an orientation towards intragroup relationships in East Asian cultures. In addition, we offer a possible account for why such a difference could exist based on a socio-ecological perspective, focusing specifically on the role of relational mobility.
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