- The Japanese Psychological Association
- 心理学研究 (ISSN:00215236)
- vol.68, no.4, pp.312-327, 1997
To assess the validity of the dominant view that the "national character" of the Japanese is more collective than that of the Americans, this paper reviews ten recent empirical studies that compared these two nations regarding individualism/collectivism. Two experimental studies on conformity and five questionnaire studies found no substantial differences. Two experimental studies on cooperation and one questionnaire study found that Japanese college students were more individualistic than American counterparts. The only study that supported the dominant view (Hofstede, 1980) is found to have little validity because its "individualism factor" is virtually unrelated to the common definition of individualism/collectivism. It is shown that the past collective behavior of the Japanese can be interpreted as a universal reaction to the international situations that required cooperation inside Japan and have recently changed drastically. A review of the past literature that produced the dominant view suggests that it was formed through the fundamental attribution error and other judgmental biases.