Social Motives and Perceptions of Societal Change

Kashima, E. (La Trobe University), Fiske, S. (Princeton University)

Across the world, people have beliefs about their society and how it is changing rapidly today. These perceptions may be linked with their fears and needs, including social isolation, a lack of interpersonal trust and sense of control with their life, which is captured by Susan Fiske’s fundamental social motives. They include the motives for belonging, understanding, control, esteem, and trust. These motives may shape and be shaped by people’s perceptions of societal change. To investigate this possibility, we developed a new scale of the five social motives. After a pilot study in the United States, the scale was administered to over 1,500 university students in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the Philippines, Macao, Malaysia, and Austria. Multi-group CFA was run to establish the measurement invariances of the scale across the cultural samples. Analyses further found that social motives were associated with perceptions of societal change over time on dimensions of societal warmth, competence and morality, and societal pessimism. Emerging results and future directions will be discussed.


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