Culture and Attitude Theorizing

Attitudes in Western and Non-Western Contexts

Authored by: Sharon Shavitt

The Handbook of Attitudes

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138648258
eBook ISBN: 9781315178103
Adobe ISBN:


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Western cultural traditions emphasize the cultivation of consistent attitudes, attitudes that are impervious to contextual factors. In the West, people learn to act on their preferences and are encouraged to express them across situations in invariant ways (“not in a box, not with a fox …”). Indeed, the pursuit of happiness depends on having a clear sense of what does and does not bring you joy. This enables deployment of attitudes in the service of making personally satisfying choices. Moreover, in the West, to know someone is to know their preferences. Attitudes, or personal preferences, make a person predictable across contexts. They also convey information about the holder’s values and traits. Therefore, the cultivation and strategic display of one’s likes and dislikes can function in the service of self-expression.

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