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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The World Cultures eJournal welcomes articles, data, and comparative research material dealing with any aspect of human behavior. Publication of any comparative database, regional or worldwide, will be considered. Submissions of programs and teaching materials are welcomed, as are communications on research, coding, sources, and other materials of interests to comparative researchers.


A measure of technological level for the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample

Technology differs from other features of culture in that the Boasian stance of cultural relativism seems less binding: one can argue that the technology of one society is superior or inferior to the technology of another. This comparison is possible because technological change—as described by S.C. Gilfillan, Clarence Ayres, and Jane Jacobs—operates through the process of combining existing elements of technology to create new elements. Technology is therefore cumulative, so that a more advanced technology contains more elements than a less advanced. We exploit this cumulative nature of technology to create a measure of technological level for the 186 ethnographically known societies in the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample.

The Interplay of Multiple Identities of Individuals Across Multiple Domains

The current study explores multiple identities of individuals, particularly youth, and the importance as well as interrelations of those identities in particular social domains in Sri Lankan society. Participants consisted of 96 Sri Lankans live in Sri Lanka. Participants completed seven self-statements (who am I), and closed ended questions, regarding five major identities: nationality, religion, ethnicity, caste, and occupation (university student). Explanations of the self-statements, analyzed by using a fourfold coding scheme, indicated that university student status is the most common social attribute among other social attributes in self-interpretations of individuals. Religion and nationality were second and third most common social attributes whereas caste was the least common. This is consistent with results of the importance of social identities. The importance of each social identity was different when it associated with different social domains, depending on how individuals value their social identities in particular social relations.

Cross Cultural Comparison of Attitides towards Aging and Physical Activity

An online cross-sectional survey was used to examine 475 adults (239 men and 236 women) on physical activity level, barriers to physical activity participation, and attitudes towards personal aging. Participants were grouped, by citizenship and residence, as Indians in India, Indians in the United States, or Americans in the United States. Cross-cultural differences were observed on self-rated general health, occurrence of preventive examinations, and several barriers to physical activity. Physical activity level was positively correlated with self-rated general health, and with optimism regarding aging, suggesting that enhanced physical activity may hold the key to a higher evaluation of personal health, and more positive expectations of aging.

Instrument selection for a study of sub cultural differences in Peru

The interest and appreciation of the differences in cultural values between sub groups within countries is becoming relevant for Latin America due to rising urbanization, social tension and the effects of foreign investments and industrialization. However, few studies have sought to differentiate sub cultural values within Latin American countries, with industry and business academia largely relying on studies that use national measures based on mean scores. This paper, through reviewing the extant cross cultural business literature and Peru’s social history, determines the factors necessary for high quality cross cultural research and the issues will be required to be addressed when selecting or developing a suitable research instrument for sub-cultural studies within a nation state. These issues include defining the sub cultures, instrument sensitivity within a national cultural emic, responsiveness to subject’s response styles and an ability to measure the dimensional constructs appropriately.