Archetypical value profiles in values research: insight into stability and change

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperProfessional


Recent literature shows that the circumplex structure of human values not only exists within groups, but also within individuals. The scores of individuals on all ten values then show the incompatibilities and oppositions between values, resulting in a value profile for each individual. Theoretically, given the circumplex structure, the number of value profiles is limited. We investigate whether the human value profiles of individuals can be parsimoniously described by a few archetypical value profiles. Employing archetypal analysis and using PVQ data from representative samples from 29 nations in the European Social Survey (ESS), we find three archetypes that show the compatibilities and oppositions as expected in Schwartz’ values theory. The three archetypes are shown to be stable over time across six waves (2004-2014). As each individual’s value profile is a weighted combination of the three archetypes, we can not only locate each individual relative to other individuals, but can also aggregate individuals to examine value heterogeneity in important demographic groups (i.e., age, gender, education, country of residence). Building on the stability of the three archetypes we assess value change over time within nations using data from eight waves (2002-2016) of the European Social Survey. Our approach enables us to show the effect of important changes in the context, such as the global financial crisis, on the values of individuals. At the nation level, these changes are in the theoretically expected direction, that is, the emphasis changes from openness to conservation values in society. Implications of these findings will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
EventInternational Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) conference - Guelph, Canada
Duration: 1 Jul 20185 Jul 2018


ConferenceInternational Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) conference
Abbreviated titleIACCP conference


  • human values
  • value change
  • cross-cultural

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