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Extreme response style as a cultural response to climato-economic deprivation

Authors

  • Jia He,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Educational Quality and Evaluation, German Institute for International Educational Research, Frankfurt, Germany
    2. Culture Studies, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
    • Correspondence should be addressed to Jia He, German Institute for International Educational Research, Germany. (E-mail: jia.he@dipf.de).

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  • Evert Van de Vliert,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Fons J. R. Van de Vijver

    1. Culture Studies, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Psychology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
    3. Department of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
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Abstract

We investigated the effects of climato-economic harshness on extreme response style. Climato-economic theorising postulates that a more threatening climate in poorer countries, in contrast to countries with a more comforting climate and richer countries with a more challenging climate, triggers intolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty avoidance inherent to conservatism, in-group favouritism and autocracy. Scores of extreme response style at country level, a proxy of this cluster of cultural characteristics, were extracted from students' responses in the Programme for International Student Assessment to test the hypothesis. In a series of hierarchical regression analysis across 64 countries, cold demands, heat demands and GDP per capita showed a highly significant interaction effect on extreme response style, predicting in total 30.7% of the variance. Extreme response style was highest in poorer countries with higher climatic demands, and lowest in richer countries with lower climate demands. Implications are discussed.

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