More 2D Values

Back in ’09 I posted on the 2D map of values from the World Values Survey, and how nations are distributed in that 2D space. A related 2D space of values is detailed in this new JPSP paper. Apparently 19 different values fall naturally on a circle:

Here are more detailed descriptions of these values:

  • Self-direction–thought: Freedom to cultivate one’s own ideas and abilities
  • Self-direction–action: Freedom to determine one’s own actions
  • Stimulation: Excitement, novelty, and change
  • Hedonism: Pleasure and sensuous gratification
  • Achievement: Success according to social standards
  • Power–dominance: Power through exercising control over people
  • Power–resources: Power through control of material and social resources
  • Face: Security and power through maintaining one’s public image and avoiding
  • humiliation
  • Security–personal: Safety in one’s immediate environment
  • Security–societal: Safety and stability in the wider society
  • Tradition: Maintaining and preserving cultural, family, or religious traditions
  • Conformity–rules: Compliance with rules, laws, and formal obligations
  • Conformity–interpersonal: Avoidance of upsetting or harming other people
  • Humility: Recognizing one’s insignificance in the larger scheme of things
  • Benevolence–dependability: Being a reliable and trustworthy member of the ingroup
  • Benevolence–caring: Devotion to the welfare of ingroup members
  • Universalism–concern: Commitment to equality, justice, and protection for all people
  • Universalism–nature: Preservation of the natural environment
  • Universalism–tolerance: Acceptance and understanding of those who are different from oneself

Of course since they are based on surveys, these are probably mostly about values as seen in a far-view.

Added 21Aug: The upper values on the circle are those celebrated more by richer societies like ours, relative to poorer societies like our farmer ancestors. (Foragers were more in the middle.) In older societies, the upper values are also more celebrated by the rich. The left-side more-community-oriented are also more common in the “East,” which I’ve suggested were centrally located places more often conquered by invaders. The more peripheral “West” tended more to emphasize right-side family and individual values.

Added 24 Aug: Far mode emphasizes the positive over the negative, and the social over the personal. So the upper left area of the circle are the most far values, and the lower right the most near values. This also seems to map onto the (near) things that we actually want, and the (far) things we want others to think that we want.


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  • I find this less facially credible than the previous 2d maps.

    • Robin Hanson

      But since they largely agree, the credibility of the last one should add to the credibility of this one.

  • James

    I’m having trouble interpreting this. What point/area would the United States occupy on that map?

    • Robin Hanson

      The US is rich, so up, and individual, so to right. Hence the US is upper right. A communal poor place, like Romania, is in the lower left.

      • James

        Are countries points, clouds, pie slices, or something else?

  • Orem

    There’s nothing natural about them fitting on the circle. Someone just decided they wanted a “put words on a circle” model, called a circumplex.

    Circumplex models are descriptively shallow: the facets of human preferences simply aren’t generated by varying an angle parameter. (Neither are emotions of personality traits. If the circumplex model was cast out from psychology today, it would not be soon enough.) Circumplex models are even poor as mere clustering methods. They’re extremely low dimensional and they enforce a constraint that factors be adjacent to two others, which is never motivated.

    I also don’t like the idea of placing a nation on the circumplex. Schwartz selected his factors to be cultural universals, with countries having profiles of relative reliance on all the different facets. But I understand your need to squeeze the theory down until it looks like a data point of support or disconfirmation for your endlessly applicable theory of near-far construal levels.

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