Psychologists have often used the term identity to describe how individuals feel about themselves in a specific culture. Since identity is based on how individuals perceive their belonging and membership within a culture, there would be some tendencies for people to experience their identities as more salient when living in certain contexts.
This blog post will address how both culture and values shape our perceptions of identity.
Cultures and Identity
Psychologists have identified two types of culture. First is called a “high-context” culture – one where it’s common to infer information from contextual cues rather than relying on explicit forms of communication (like words or lectures).
An example of this is Japan, where it’s considered rude to stare directly at someone. To avoid conflict, it’s common practice to use indirect communication.
The second type of culture is called a “low-context” culture – one where communication and exchanges are generally direct. The United States is a prime example of a low-context culture.
The US is also a highly individualistic society. Here, there’s less reliance on non-verbal cues and much more emphasis on direct communication and expression of opinion.
Values and Identity
In a values-based culture, religion is often an important aspect. In fact, some people believe that values are stronger criteria of identity than identifications with a particular ethnic or national group.
Values tend to influence how we define our identities and communicate those identities. In other words, our values guide how we perceive ourselves and behave in the world.
The more collectivist your family culture or national culture is, the more likely it is that you consider your identity to be a part of a group (perhaps your family or community) rather than an individual identity. And you most likely find fulfillment in achieving collective goals instead of individual achievements.
If you were raised in an individualistic cultural context (such as in the US or the UK), you are likely to have a more individualistic concept of identity. You’ll probably be less likely to identify with a group and place less emphasis on group membership than on your personal accomplishments and achievements.
If you want to express the cultural values of America, you can wear clothes that represent those values like individual freedom and equality. Buy No Guilt clothing and George Washington merchandise and express the values on which America was founded.
Visit their website to learn more about their products!