Esther Guillaume, Erica Baranski, Elysia Todd, Brock Bastian, Igor Bronin, Christina Ivanova, Joey T Cheng, Francois S de Kock, Jaap J Denissen, and Lars Penke (2016)

The world at 7: Comparing the experience of situations across 20 countries

Journal of Personality, 84:493-509.

The purpose of this research is to quantitatively compare everyday situational experience around the world. Local collaborators recruited 5,447 members of college communities in 20 countries, who provided data via a Web site in 14 languages. Using the 89 items of the Riverside Situational Q-sort (RSQ), participants described the situation they experienced the previous evening at 7:00 p.m. Correlations among the average situational profiles of each country ranged from r = .73 to r = .95; the typical situation was described as largely pleasant. Most similar were the United States/Canada; least similar were South Korea/Denmark. Japan had the most homogenous situational experience; South Korea, the least. The 15 RSQ items varying the most across countries described relatively negative aspects of situational experience; the 15 least varying items were more positive. Further analyses correlated RSQ items with national scores on six value dimensions, the Big Five traits, economic output, and population. Individualism, Neuroticism, Openness, and Gross Domestic Product yielded more significant correlations than expected by chance. Psychological research traditionally has paid more attention to the assessment of persons than of situations, a discrepancy that extends to cross-cultural psychology. The present study demonstrates how cultures vary in situational experience in psychologically meaningful ways.