Helping strangers is lower in Embedded cultures

Ariel Knafo*, Shalom H. Schwartz, Robert V. Levine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The embeddedness cultural value orientation regards the extended in-group, not the individual, as the key social unit. Embedded cultures focus on the welfare of the in-group, limiting concern for outsiders' well-being. Therefore, the authors hypothesized that people in high-embeddedness cultures are less helpful to strangers in need. They related countries' embeddedness scores to rates of helping strangers in three field experiments across 21 countries. Large cross-national differences in helping strangers related strongly and negatively to cultural embeddedness in subsets of wealthy and developing countries. This suggests that prevailing cultural values affect the way people relate to needy others outside their in-group.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)875-879
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Cultural values
  • Culture
  • Embeddedness
  • Helping
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Values


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