Narratives are one of the oldest and universal forms of communication in human societies. In the present research, the authors hypothesized that narratives play an important role in the reproduction of cultural values. To test this idea, Study 1 examined the contents of stories created by American and Japanese participants for their reflection of individualistic and collectivistic values, and Study 2 examined whether information consistent with cultural values would be more likely to be retained and passed onto others. The studies found that American participants created stories that reflected individualistic values and retained more individualistic information than collectivistic information when they transmitted a story to others. In contrast, Japanese participants created stories that reflected collectivistic values and retained more collectivistic information than individualistic information when they transmitted a story to others. These findings support the idea that narrative communication is an important part of cultural reproduction mechanism.
- cultural reproduction
- cultural values