Religion and Culture: Individualism and Collectivism in the East and West

Adam Cohen, Michael Shengtao Wu, Jacob Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Religion is an important topic to understand in cross-cultural psychology. More theorizing and empirical work has gone into Western religions than Eastern religions. We briefly review work on cultural differences among Western religious groups, using the framework of individualism and collectivism. Such work raises questions on how religions and cultures affect each other, how diverse cultural groups are, and how confounded country and religious identities are. We then ask some of the same questions about Eastern religions and propose new questions for a cross-cultural psychology of religion, such as what counts as a religion, and whether there are nonreligious parallels of religious constructs that serve similar functions (e.g., belief in a just world [BJW], or social axiom of reward for human application). In all, we propose that a greater attention to both Western and Eastern religions in cross-cultural psychology can be illuminating regarding religion and culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1236-1249
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • collectivism
  • culture
  • individualism
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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