This paper provides a unique perspective for understanding cultural differences: representation similarity—a computational technique that uses pairwise comparisons of units to reveal their representation in higher-order space. By combining individual-level measures of trust across domains and well-being from 13,823 participants across 15 nations with a measure of society-level tightness–looseness, we found that any two countries with more similar tightness–looseness tendencies exhibit higher degrees of representation similarity in national interpersonal trust profiles. Although each individual's trust profile is generally similar to their nation's trust profile, the greater similarity between an individual's and their society's trust profile predicted a higher level of individual life satisfaction only in loose cultures but not in tight cultures. Using the framework of representation similarity to explore cross-cultural differences from a multidimensional, multi-national perspective provide a comprehensive picture of how culture is related to the human activities.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project 31800916, 32071081) (S. L.), the Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (Project 2020A1515010975) (S. L.), the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development (Grant FA2386‐15‐1‐0003) (J. L.), and Hong Kong Research Grants Council's Early Career Scheme (28604318) (L. M. W. L.).
© 2022 British Psychological Society.
- institutional trust
- interpersonal trust
- representation similarity