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Agency-communion and interest in prosocial behavior: social motives for conformity and deviance explain socio-contextual inconsistencies

Gebauer, Jochen E., Sedikides, Constantine and Lüdtke, O. (2014) Agency-communion and interest in prosocial behavior: social motives for conformity and deviance explain socio-contextual inconsistencies Journal of Personality, 82, (5), pp. 452-466.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Identifying the “prosocial personality” is a classic project in personality psychology. However, personality traits have been elusive predictors of prosocial behavior, with personality-prosociality relations varying widely across sociocultural contexts. We propose the social motives perspective to account for such sociocultural inconsistencies. According to this perspective, a focal quality of agency (e.g., competence, independence, openness) is the motive to swim against the social tide—agentic social contrast. Conversely, a focal quality of communion (e.g., warmth, interdependence, agreeableness) is the motive to swim with the social tide—communal social assimilation. We report two cross-sectional studies. Study 1 (N?=?131,562) defined social context at the country level (11 European countries), whereas Study 2 (N?=?56,395) defined it at the country level (11 European countries) and the city level (296 cities within these countries). Communion predicted interest in prosocial behavior comparatively strongly in sociocultural contexts where such interest was common and comparatively weakly where such interest was uncommon. Agency predicted interest in prosocial behavior comparatively strongly in sociocultural contexts where such interest was uncommon and comparatively weakly where such interest was common. The results supported the social motives perspective. Also, the findings help to reestablish the importance of personality for understanding prosociality.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 24 December 2013
Published date: October 2014

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 368796
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/368796
ISSN: 0022-3506
PURE UUID: 818be91e-e0dc-4099-b181-4928eaa97554

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Date deposited: 13 Sep 2014 10:33
Last modified: 30 Aug 2017 10:07

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Contributors

Author: Jochen E. Gebauer
Author: O. Lüdtke

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