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Principal components analysis has been used throughout in the study because, unlike component analysis, it does not need to assume that the dimensions found in the analysis correspond directly latent to real-world entities. However, before undertaking a cluster or principal components analysis, a decision had to be made with respect to normalizing the data. A number of components, such as social desirability, can affect 28 A Study of Personal and Cultural Values individual ratings. There are also other kinds of individual differences; for example, some people tend to use the whole range of a scale for their ratings while others tend to use just a segment of the scale.

Overall, the altruism versus self-interest and individualism versus communalism dimensions would seem to be more fundamental than the conservative versus liberal dimension, since they are found universally, not just in Western societies, and are not tied to specific political issues. It is interesting that the term libertarian is becoming a more frequently used political term. 3 libertarians would be on the private enterprise line—libertarians are those individualists who believe in the freedom to be entirely selfish if it does not hurt anyone else, like the freedom to sell one’s own body parts.

The point made in this book is that when one encounters a society where people do not hook their values to norms and practices the way one does oneself, one is likely to think that what is different about the culture of these people is that it has different values. In classroom discussions, for example, I have found that right-to-life advocates will sometimes refuse to believe that the choice advocates could possibly value life as much as they do. This explanation says that the finding of small differences between societies in the value data could be correct because what makes for the large differences between societies is what-counts-as-what, not in what is valued.

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