Patterns of Independence and Interdependence in Mediterranean Societies: Comparative and Within-Region Perspectives

Monday, Oct. 9, 2023 (3:30 PM – 5:00 PM)

Ayşe K. Üskül

University of Sussex, UK

In this talk, Üskül presents recent findings pointing to a distinct emphasis on several forms of independence (relative intensity of disengaging [vs. engaging] emotions, happiness based on disengaging [vs. engaging] emotions, dispositional [vs. situational] attribution style, self-construal as different from others, self-directed, self-reliant, self-expressive, and consistent) and interdependence (closeness to in-group [vs. out-group] members, self-construal as connected and committed to close others) in the Mediterranean region compared to more commonly studied East Asian and Anglo-Western cultural groups. She discusses this unique pattern in light of the importance of “honor” values in Mediterranean societies, which require individuals to develop and protect a sense of their personal self-worth and their social reputation, through assertiveness, competitiveness, and retaliation in the face of threats. These findings extend previous insights into patterns of cultural orientation beyond commonly examined East–West comparisons to an understudied world region. In addition, she will share a within-region analysis of self-construal social orientation, and cognitive style to examine the role of ethnic, linguistic, national, religious and socio-ecological factors in similarities and differences between subregional groups. 

Üskül is a social and cultural psychologist interested in the role of cultural and socio-ecological context in self-related, interpersonal and social cognitive processes. She completed her degrees at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey (BA), Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (MA), and York University, Toronto, Canada (PhD) and held a SSHRC-funded Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor between 2004-06. She held academic positions at the University of Essex, Queen’s University Belfast, and University of Kent before joining the University of Sussex in 2022. Her past research on socio-economic basis of interdependence, cultural conceptions of honor, and culture and health behavior change received funding from the British Academy, the US National Science Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, and Japanese Society of the Promotion of Science, among others. Her current comparative research on the role of honor in social interactional processes is funded by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant ( She is Co-Chief Editor of the European Review of Social Psychology and the President of the Psychology Section of the British Science Association.

If you would like to meet with the speaker, please click here to contact Erin Loomas.