The question of who should act, and how often, is critical for cultures and the regulation of social behavior. The vertical/horizontal dimension of culture describes the relative valuing of hierarchy versus equality. In a horizontal culture valuing equality, responsibility for action is more widely distributed than in a vertical culture valuing hierarchy. The relation between this cultural dimension and general attitudes towards action and inaction was tested with a large-scale survey of respondents from 19 nations. A multi-level model indicated that liking for action was especially associated with horizontality--the valuing of equality. Although values can generally be expressed through various compatible actions, horizontality (valuing equality) entails endorsing distributed responsibility for action and its outcomes, promoting general favorability towards action. In contrast, verticality includes countervailing components that discourage action by promoting norms that constrain who should act in accordance to status.
- Social cognition
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