Week 1: Definitions and Outreach Events

Kashish S -

Hi Everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week! This week, I wanted to share some of the definitions I am going to be using throughout my research project.

In January 1998, Harry C. Triandis and Michele J. Gelfand, prominent cultural psychologists, published an article stating that there were dimensions of both individualism and collectivism. These dimensions were the horizontal and vertical dimensions. The horizontal distinction placed importance on equality, while the vertical distinction valued hierarchy and
structure in society (Triandis and Gelfand 118). Thus, throughout my project, there are 4 total dimensions I will be looking at.

  • Vertical Individualism: individuals believe themselves to be fully autonomous, but they accept that there is a hierarchy in society.
  • Horizontal Individualism: the view that someone is completely independent/autonomous, and everyone is equal.
  • ┬áVertical Collectivism: the view that a person is part of a larger collective identity/group, but within that group, inequality and power imbalances persist.
  • Horizontal Collectivism: an individual is part of a larger group, and everyone in that group is equal.

These definitions will be guiding the essence of my research project; specifically, I will be observing how these 4 factors correlate to any changes in psychological wellbeing. Through surveys, I will see if any of these four factors had a significant relationship with a change in wellbeing, if any.

Further, yesterday was my first day at my site placement, Native Health! While I was there, I packed bags for the USFB. I put together bags of toiletries and personal care items. Being involved in this sort of community outreach was really fascinating and gave me important insight into how collectivism is really oriented. By creating communities that help each other, collectivism ensures that everyone in a collective/group is cared for, which helps uplift society psychologically and physically. It was super cool to get a firsthand experience into how community outreach is organized, giving me a closer look at how collectivism is furthered.

Overall, I was able to learn a lot that will help me further my understanding of individualism and collectivism, which in turn will help me develop my project! I cannot wait to get involved with more things at Native Health and continue on my research journey!

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    Moksha Dalal
    Hi Kashish! This is such an interesting topic to be studying. Do you feel that packing these bags gives an insight on individualism at all?

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