Do people in individualistic cultures feel lonelier than in collectivistic cultures? Surprisingly, they don’t: Although people in individualistic cultures often have less stable relationships and spend more time alone, average loneliness seems to be lower than in more collectivistic cultures. In my dissertation, I provide an explanation for this “cultural paradox of loneliness”.
In many ways, psychology suffers from an overdose of individualism. This is problematic because this dominant view conceptualizes social relationships as external to the isolated individual. In his new book, Martijn van Zomeren develops an essentially relational theory of motivation, which assumes that, in essence, we are moved and motivated by others.