Cross-Cultural Homogeneity in Social Perspective Taking: China and the United States

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Abstract

Research has suggested that, given the proper methods of measurement, there is little or no difference in Kohlbergian stages of moral development and social perspective taking between different cultures. Participants in the United States and China were administered the Perspective Taking Instrument developed by Core Complexity Assessments in coordination with the Dare Association, Inc., to measure stage development of social perspective taking. Using Rasch analysis, we computed stage scores on the model of hierarchical complexity (MHC) to compare participants. This study represents the first cross-cultural application of MHC analysis. We found that the progress of individuals’ moral development in American and Chinese cultures were both nearly identical to the developmental course predicted by the MHC, despite obvious surface-level differences in the social organization and behavior of the 2 cultures.

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