Mental Representations of Values and Behaviors

Gabriel Lins De Holanda Coelho, Paul Hanel, Mark Johansen, Gregory Maio

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The present research provides the first direct assessment of the fit of diverse behaviors to putatively related personal and social values from Schwartz’s theory. Across three studies, we examined spatial representations of value-related behaviors that were explicitly derived from people’s mental representations of the values. Participants were asked how similar the behaviors were to each other and various values, and these judgments were used to specify multidimensional scaling solutions. The results indicated that the spatial representation of the behaviors was consistent with the two-dimensional space described in Schwartz’s model of values, although several deviations occurred. For example, self-enhancement behaviors were widely spread, indicating more variation in the way individuals interpret these behaviors, which are often associated with other value types. These data provide evidence that a range of behaviors can at least partly be reduced to underlying motivations expressed by values. Furthermore, our findings indicate that behaviors are often expressed by several values, which might help to explain why value–behavior associations in previous studies were weak. Finally, they illustrate a new approach to learning which behaviors might relate to multiple values.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Early online date25 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jul 2021


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