Author(s): Miller JG
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Abstract The impact of cultural meaning systems on the development of everyday social explanation is explored in a cross-cultural investigation undertaken among Indian and American adults and children (ages 8, 11, and 15 year). It is demonstrated that at older ages Americans make greater reference to general dispositions and less reference to contextual factors in explanation than do Hindus . References to general dispositions also undergo a much greater developmental increase among Americans than among Hindus , whereas references to contextual factors show the opposite pattern of developmental change. Evidence suggests that these cross-cultural and developmental differences result from contrasting cultural conceptions of the person acquired over development in the two cultures rather than from cognitive., experiential, or informational differences between attributors . Discussion focuses on theoretical implications of such a demonstration for understanding: (a) the importance of integrating semantic with structural considerations in theories of social attribution, (b) the need to develop nonteleological frameworks for interpreting age and cultural diversity in conceptualization, and (c) the role of cultural communication in the acquisition of everyday social knowledge.
This article was published in J Pers Soc Psychol
and referenced in Journal of Socialomics