The team of ZHU Tingxuan at the Institute of Psychology, CAS, combined cultural psychology and big data analysis (Twitter), to analyze the characteristics such as independence or individualism of countries or regions along the belt and road initiative. The world values database (WVS) project of the institute investigates and studies human values ​​and beliefs on a global scale. The scope of research covers 60 countries or regions. The latest data collection spans from 2010 to 2014, and the current sample size is 90350. In order to obtain indicators for individuality and social trust in countries or regions along the “One Belt and One Road” initiative, the study extracted individualistic scores (e. g., the stronguse of personal pronouns) focusing on 28 countries, and calculated relationships between this index (autonomy, equality, choice, expression) and social trust (universal trust, special trust). Using individualism as an independent variable and socio-economic variables as a control (such as per capita GDP, Gini coefficient, urban population ratio), cross-validation using the leave-one-out method was used to create a linear regression prediction model for individual emancipation and social trust indicators. The authors found that the colonial history of European and American countries is the biggest influencing factor for individualism, more important than the economic level, political history, religious beliefs, and other factors. Through regression analysis of WVS behavioral indicators, it was found that countries or regions with higher individualistic values had more trust in strangers.

CAS news release, March 28, 2018