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On method: Modifying Schwartz´theory of basic human values

Research project
Active research
Project owner
Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science

Short description

One of the many types of factors that can predict cooperative behaviour is people’s “values”. Studies of how values affect behaviour are often based on Shalom Schwartz’ Theory of Basic Human Values, and the Schwartz Value Survey (SVS) or the Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ) are often used to measure people’s “value orientations”. By using this approach, it has e.g. been shown that those who are high in “benevolence” and “universalism” are most willing to cooperate, whereas those who regard power, achievement and pleasure as most important in life are less cooperative. However, categories like “benevolence” and “universalism” are quite broad, and there are e.g. huge differences between the views that are labelled as universalist.

For this reason, it is worth exploring exactly which “self-transcendence values” can best predict cooperative behaviour. Philosophical ethics and value theory has a well-established terminology that can be of help in this context. It can be used to make fruitful distinctions within the categories “benevolence” and “universalism”, and it can bring some conceptual clarity to Schwartz’ messy classification of different values, e.g. by distinguishing clearly between normative and evaluative beliefs, different kinds of normative beliefs, and the like. These distinctions can then be used to formulate new hypotheses about what normative and evaluative beliefs might best predict different kinds of cooperative behaviour.

Researcher (länkas till nya katalogen)

Bengt Brülde, Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science