In this article, we describe a multistudy project designed to explain observed cross-national differences in risk taking between respondents from the People’s Republic of China and the United States. Using this example, we develop the following recommendations for cross-cultural investigations. First, like all psychological research, cross-cultural studies should be model based. Investigators should commit themselves to a model of the behavior under study that explicitly specifies possible causal constructs or variables hypothesized to influence the behavior, as well as the relationship between those variables, and allows for individual, group, or cultural differences in the value of these variables or in the relationship between them. This moves the focus from a simple demonstration of cross-national differences toward a prediction of the behavior, including its cross-national variation. Ideally, the causal construct hypothesized and shown to differ between cultures should be demonstrated to serve as a moderator or a mediator between culture and observed behavioral differences. Second, investigators should look for converging evidence for hypothesized cultural effects on behavior by looking at multiple dependent variables and using multiple methodological approaches. Thus, the data collection that will allow for the establishment of conclusive causal connections between a cultural variable and some target behavior can be compared with the creation of a mosaic.
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This research was supported by Grant SBR-9631860 from the National Science Foundation. We thank Kwok Leung, Doug Medin, Paul Slovic, Pete Suttmeier, and Frank Yates for valuable discussions related to the topic of the paper.
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Weber, E.U., Hsee, C.K. Models and mosaics: Investigating cross-cultural differences in risk perception and risk preference. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 6, 611–617 (1999). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03212969
- Risk Perception
- Risk Preference
- Risk Averse
- Risky Choice
- Probability Judgment