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Basic Human Values: Theory, Measurement, and Applications

Shalom H. Schwartz
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Appeared in Revue franaise de sociologie, 47/4 (2006)

This research was supported by Israel Science Foundation Grant No. 921/02.

Applying the values construct in the social sciences has suffered from the absence of an
agreed-upon conception of basic values, of the content and structure of relations among these
values, and of reliable methods to measure them. This article presents data from over 70
countries, using two different instruments, to validate a theory intended to fill part of this gap.
It concerns the basic values that individuals in all cultures recognize. The theory identifies 10
motivationally distinct values and specifies the dynamics of conflict and congruence among
them. These dynamics yield a structure of relations among values common to culturally
diverse groups, suggesting a universal organization of human motivations. Individuals and
groups differ in the priorities they assign to these values. The article examines sources of
individual differences in value priorities and behavioral and attitudinal consequences that
follow from holding particular value priorities. In doing so, it considers processes through
which values are influenced and through which they influence action.

Values have been a central concept in the social sciences since their inception. For both
Durkheim (1893, 1897) and Weber (1905), values were crucial for explaining social and
personal organization and change. Values have played an important role not only in
sociology, but in psychology, anthropology, and related disciplines as well. Values are used to
characterize societies and individuals, to trace change over time, and to explain the
motivational bases of attitudes and behavior.
Despite or, perhaps, because of the widespread use of values, many different
conceptions of this construct have emerged (e.g., Boudon, 2001; Inglehart, 1997; Kohn,
1969; Parsons, 1951; Rokeach 1973). Application of the values construct in the social
sciences has suffered, however, from the absence of an agreed-upon conception of basic
values, of the content and structure of relations among these values, and of reliable empirical
methods to measure them (Hitlin & Piliavin, 2004; Rohan, 2000). This article presents a
theory intended to fill the part of this gap concerned with the values of individuals (Schwartz,
1992, 2005a).
The theory concerns the basic values that people in all cultures recognize. It identifies
ten motivationally distinct value orientations and specifies the dynamics of conflict and
congruence among these values. Some values contradict one another (e.g., benevolence and
power) whereas others are compatible (e.g., conformity and security). The "structure" of
values refers to these relations of conflict and congruence among values, not to their relative
importance. If value structures are similar across culturally diverse groups, this would suggest
that there is a universal organization of human motivations. Of course, even if the types of
human motivation that values express and the structure of relations among them are
universal, individuals and groups differ substantially in the relative importance they attribute
to their values. That is, individuals and groups have different value priorities or

This article explicates the theory of personal values and describes two different
instruments to measure the values it identifies. Data gathered with these instruments in over
70 countries around the world have validated both the contents and structure of values
postulated by the theory. I will also examine some sources of individual differences in value
priorities and some of the behavioral and attitudinal consequences that follow from holding
particular value priorities. In doing so, I will consider processes through which values are
influenced and through which they influence action.
The Theory of Value Contents and Structure
The Nature of Values
When we think of our values we think of what is important to us in life. Each of us
holds numerous values (e.g., achievement, security, benevolence) with varying degrees of
importance. A particular value may be very important to one person but unimportant to
another. The value theory (Schwartz, 1992, 2005a) adopts a conception of values that
specifies six main features that are implicit in the writings of many theorists:1
(1) Values are beliefs linked inextricably to affect. When values are activated, they become
infused with feeling. People for whom independence is an important value become aroused if
their independence is threatened, despair when they are helpless to protect it, and are happy
when they can enjoy it.
(2) Values refer to desirable goals that motivate action. People for whom social order, justice,
and helpfulness are important values are motivated to pursue these goals.
(3) Values transcend specific actions and situations. Obedience and honesty, for example, are
values that may be relevant at work or in school, in sports, business, and politics, with family,
friends, or strangers. This feature distinguishes values from narrower concepts like norms and
attitudes that usually refer to specific actions, objects, or situations.

e.g., Allport, 1961; Feather, 1995; Inglehart, 1997; Kohn, 1969; Kluckhohn, 1951; Morris, 1956;
Rokeach 1973; Schwartz & Bilsky, 1987.

(4) Values serve as standards or criteria. Values guide the selection or evaluation of actions,
policies, people, and events. People decide what is good or bad, justified or illegitimate, worth
doing or avoiding, based on possible consequences for their cherished values. But the impact of
values in everyday decisions is rarely conscious. Values enter awareness when the actions or
judgments one is considering have conflicting implications for different values one cherishes.
(5) Values are ordered by importance relative to one another. Peoples values form an ordered
system of value priorities that characterize them as individuals. Do they attribute more
importance to achievement or justice, to novelty or tradition? This hierarchical feature also
distinguishes values from norms and attitudes.
(6) The relative importance of multiple values guides action. Any attitude or behavior
typically has implications for more than one value. For example, attending church might express
and promote tradition, conformity, and security values at the expense of hedonism and
stimulation values. The tradeoff among relevant, competing values is what guides attitudes and
behaviors (Schwartz, 1992, 1996). Values contribute to action to the extent that they are relevant
in the context (hence likely to be activated) and important to the actor.
The above are features of all values. What distinguishes one value from another is the
type of goal or motivation that the value expresses. The values theory defines ten broad values
according to the motivation that underlies each of them. Presumably, these values encompass the
range of motivationally distinct values recognized across cultures. According to the theory, these
values are likely to be universal because they are grounded in one or more of three universal
requirements of human existence with which they help to cope. These requirements are:
needs of individuals as biological organisms, requisites of coordinated social interaction, and
survival and welfare needs of groups.
Individuals cannot cope successfully with these requirements of human existence on
their own. Rather, people must articulate appropriate goals to cope with them, communicate

with others about them, and gain cooperation in their pursuit. Values are the socially desirable
concepts used to represent these goals mentally and the vocabulary used to express them in
social interaction. From an evolutionary viewpoint (Buss, 1986), these goals and the values
that express them have crucial survival significance.
I next define each of the ten values in terms of the broad goal it expresses, note its
grounding in universal requirements, and refer to related value concepts. To make the
meaning of each value more concrete and explicit, I list in parentheses the set of value items
included in the first survey instrument to measure each value. Some important value items
(e.g., self-respect) have multiple meanings; they express the motivational goals of more than
one value. These items are listed in brackets.
Self-Direction. Defining goal: independent thought and action--choosing, creating,
exploring. Self-direction derives from organismic needs for control and mastery (e.g.,
Bandura, 1977; Deci, 1975) and interactional requirements of autonomy and independence
(e.g., Kluckhohn, 1951; Kohn & Schooler, 1983; Morris, 1956). (creativity, freedom,
choosing own goals, curious, independent)[self-respect, intelligent, privacy]
Stimulation. Defining goal: excitement, novelty, and challenge in life. Stimulation
values derive from the organismic need for variety and stimulation in order to maintain an
optimal, positive, rather than threatening, level of activation (e.g., Berlyne, 1960). This need
probably relates to the needs underlying self-direction values (cf. Deci, 1975). (a varied life,
an exciting life, daring)
Hedonism. Defining goal: pleasure or sensuous gratification for oneself. Hedonism
values derive from organismic needs and the pleasure associated with satisfying them.
Theorists from many disciplines (e.g., Freud, 1933; Morris, 1956; Williams, 1968) mention
hedonism. (pleasure, enjoying life, self-indulgent) 2

Though it is an important value, happiness is not included, because people achieve it through
attaining whatever outcomes they value (Sagiv & Schwartz, 2000).

Achievement. Defining goal: personal success through demonstrating competence
according to social standards. Competent performance that generates resources is necessary
for individuals to survive and for groups and institutions to reach their objectives.
Achievement values appear in many sources (e.g., Maslow, 1965; Rokeach, 1973). As
defined here, achievement values emphasize demonstrating competence in terms of
prevailing cultural standards, thereby obtaining social approval. (ambitious, successful,
capable, influential) [intelligent, self-respect, social recognition]3
Power. Defining goal: social status and prestige, control or dominance over people
and resources. The functioning of social institutions apparently requires some degree of status
differentiation (Parsons, 1951). A dominance/submission dimension emerges in most
empirical analyses of interpersonal relations both within and across cultures (Lonner, 1980).
To justify this fact of social life and to motivate group members to accept it, groups must treat
power as a value. Power values may also be transformations of individual needs for
dominance and control (Korman, 1974). Value analysts have mentioned power values as well
(e.g., Allport, 1961). (authority, wealth, social power)[preserving my public image, social
Both power and achievement values focus on social esteem. However, achievement
values (e.g., ambitious) emphasize the active demonstration of successful performance in
concrete interaction, whereas power values (e.g., authority, wealth) emphasize the attainment
or preservation of a dominant position within the more general social system.
Security. Defining goal: safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and
of self. Security values derive from basic individual and group requirements (cf. Kluckhohn,
1951; Maslow, 1965; Williams, 1968). There are two subtypes of security values. Some serve
primarily individual interests (e.g., clean), others wider group interests (e.g., national

Achievement values differ from McClelland's (1961) achievement motivation. Achievement

motivation concerns meeting internal standards of excellence. It is expressed in self-direction values.

security). Even the latter, however, express, to a significant degree, the goal of security for
self (or those with whom one identifies). The two subtypes can therefore be unified into a
more encompassing value. (social order, family security, national security, clean,
reciprocation of favors)[healthy, moderate, sense of belonging]
Conformity. Defining goal: restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to
upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms. Conformity values derive from
the requirement that individuals inhibit inclinations that might disrupt and undermine smooth
interaction and group functioning. Virtually all value analyses mention conformity (e.g.,
Freud, 1930; Kohn & Schooler, 1983; Morris, 1956; Parsons, 1951). As I define them,
conformity values emphasize self-restraint in everyday interaction, usually with close others.
(obedient, self-discipline, politeness, honoring parents and elders)[loyal, responsible]
Tradition. Defining goal: respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and
ideas that one's culture or religion provides. Groups everywhere develop practices, symbols,
ideas, and beliefs that represent their shared experience and fate. These become sanctioned as
valued group customs and traditions (Sumner, 1906). They symbolize the group's solidarity,
express its unique worth, and contribute to its survival (Durkheim, 1912/1954; Parsons,
1951). They often take the form of religious rites, beliefs, and norms of behavior. (respect for
tradition, humble, devout, accepting my portion in life)[moderate, spiritual life]
Tradition and conformity values are especially close motivationally; they share the
goal of subordinating the self in favor of socially imposed expectations. They differ primarily
in the objects to which one subordinates the self. Conformity entails subordination to persons
with whom one is in frequent interactionparents, teachers, bosses. Tradition entails
subordination to more abstract objectsreligious and cultural customs and ideas. As a
corollary, conformity values exhort responsiveness to current, possibly changing

expectations. Tradition values demand responsiveness to immutable expectations from the
Benevolence. Defining goal: preserving and enhancing the welfare of those with
whom one is in frequent personal contact (the in-group). Benevolence values derive from
the basic requirement for smooth group functioning (cf. Kluckhohn, 1951; Williams, 1968) and
from the organismic need for affiliation (cf. Korman, 1974; Maslow, 1965). Most critical are
relations within the family and other primary groups. Benevolence values emphasize voluntary
concern for others welfare. (helpful, honest, forgiving, responsible, loyal, true friendship,
mature love)[sense of belonging, meaning in life, a spiritual life].
Benevolence and conformity values both promote cooperative and supportive social
relations. However, benevolence values provide an internalized motivational base for such
behavior. In contrast, conformity values promote cooperation in order to avoid negative
outcomes for self. Both values may motivate the same helpful act, separately or together.
Universalism. Defining goal: understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection
for the welfare of all people and for nature. This contrasts with the in-group focus of
benevolence values. Universalism values derive from survival needs of individuals and
groups. But people do not recognize these needs until they encounter others beyond the
extended primary group and until they become aware of the scarcity of natural resources.
People may then realize that failure to accept others who are different and treat them justly
will lead to life-threatening strife. They may also realize that failure to protect the natural
environment will lead to the destruction of the resources on which life depends. Universalism
combines two subtypes of concernfor the welfare of those in the larger society and world
and for nature (broadminded, social justice, equality, world at peace, world of beauty, unity
with nature, wisdom, protecting the environment)[inner harmony, a spiritual life]

An early version of the value theory (Schwartz, 1992) raised the possibility that
spirituality might constitute another near-universal value. The defining goal of spiritual
values is meaning, coherence, and inner harmony through transcending everyday reality. If
finding ultimate meaning is a basic human need (e.g., Niebuhr, 1935), then spirituality might
be a distinct value found in all societies. The value survey therefore included possible
markers for spirituality, gleaned from widely varied sources. (a spiritual life, meaning in life,
inner harmony, detachment)[unity with nature, accepting my portion in life, devout]. As noted
below, spirituality is not a value that has a consistent broad meaning across cultures.
The Structure of Value Relations
In addition to identifying ten basic values, the theory explicates the structure of
dynamic relations among the values. The value structure derives from the fact that actions in
pursuit of any value have consequences that conflict with some values but are congruent with
others. For example, pursuing achievement values typically conflicts with pursuing
benevolence values. Seeking success for self tends to obstruct actions aimed at enhancing the
welfare of others who need one's help. But pursuing both achievement and power values is
usually compatible. Seeking personal success for oneself tends to strengthen and to be
strengthened by actions aimed at enhancing one's own social position and authority over others.
Another example: Pursuing novelty and change (stimulation values) is likely to undermine
preserving time-honored customs (tradition values). In contrast, pursuing tradition values is
congruent with pursuing conformity values. Both motivate actions of submission to external
Actions in pursuit of values have practical, psychological, and social consequences.
Practically, choosing an action alternative that promotes one value (e.g., taking drugs in a cultic
ritestimulation) may literally contravene or violate a competing value (obeying the precepts
of ones religiontradition). The person choosing what to do may also sense that such

alternative actions are psychologically dissonant. And others may impose social sanctions by
pointing to practical and logical inconsistencies between an action and other values the person
professes. Of course, people can and do pursue competing values, but not in a single act.
Rather, they do so through different acts, at different times, and in different settings.
The circular structure in Figure 1 portrays the total pattern of relations of conflict and
congruity among values. Tradition and conformity are located in a single wedge because, as
noted above, they share the same broad motivational goal. Conformity is more toward the
center and tradition toward the periphery. This signifies that tradition values conflict more
strongly with the opposing values. The expectations linked to tradition values are more abstract
and absolute than the interaction-based expectations of conformity values. They therefore
demand a stronger, unequivocal rejection of opposing values.
Viewing values as organized along two bipolar dimensions lets us summarize the
oppositions between competing values. As Figure 1 shows, one dimension contrasts openness
to change and conservation values. This dimension captures the conflict between values that
emphasize independence of thought, action, and feelings and readiness for change (selfdirection, stimulation) and values that emphasize order, self-restriction, preservation of the past,
and resistance to change (security, conformity, tradition). The second dimension contrasts selfenhancement and self-transcendence values. This dimension captures the conflict between
values that emphasize concern for the welfare and interests of others (universalism,
benevolence) and values that emphasize pursuit of one's own interests and relative success and
dominance over others (power, achievement). Hedonism shares elements of both openness to
change and self-enhancement.
Although the theory discriminates ten values, it postulates that, at a more basic level,
values form a continuum of related motivations. This continuum gives rise to the circular
structure. To clarify the nature of the continuum, I note the shared motivational emphases of

adjacent values: (a) power and achievement--social superiority and esteem; (b) achievement and
hedonism--self-centered satisfaction; (c) hedonism and stimulation--a desire for affectively
pleasant arousal; (d) stimulation and self-direction--intrinsic interest in novelty and mastery; (e)
self-direction and universalism--reliance upon one's own judgment and comfort with the
diversity of existence; (f) universalism and benevolence--enhancement of others and
transcendence of selfish interests; (g) benevolence and tradition--devotion to one's in-group; (h)
benevolence and conformity--normative behavior that promotes close relationships; (i)
conformity and tradition--subordination of self in favor of socially imposed expectations; (j)
tradition and security--preserving existing social arrangements that give certainty to life; (k)
conformity and security--protection of order and harmony in relations; (l) security and power-avoiding or overcoming threats by controlling relationships and resources.
In sum, the circular arrangement of the values represents a motivational continuum. The
closer any two values in either direction around the circle, the more similar their underlying
motivations; the more distant, the more antagonistic their motivations. The idea that values
form a motivational continuum has a critical implication: The division of the domain of value
items into ten distinct values is an arbitrary convenience. It is reasonable to partition the domain
of value items into more or less fine-tuned distinct values according to the needs and objectives
of ones analysis. Conceiving values as organized in a circular motivational structure has an
important implication for the relations of values to other variables. It implies that the whole set
of ten values relates to any other variable in an integrated manner. I return to this implication
Measuring Value Priorities
The Schwartz Value Survey
The first instrument developed to measure values based on the theory is now known
as the Schwartz Value Survey (SVS; Schwartz, 1992, 2005a). The SVS presents two lists of

value items. The first contains 30 items that describe potentially desirable end-states in noun
form; the second contains 26 or 27 items that describe potentially desirable ways of acting in
adjective form.4 Each item expresses an aspect of the motivational goal of one value. An
explanatory phrase in parentheses following the item further specifies its meaning. For
example, EQUALITY (equal opportunity for all) is a universalism item; PLEASURE
(gratification of desires) is a hedonism item.
Respondents rate the importance of each value item "as a guiding principle in MY
life" on a 9-point scale labeled 7 (of supreme importance), 6 (very important), 5, 4
(unlabeled), 3 (important), 2, 1 (unlabeled), 0 (not important), -1 (opposed to my values). 5
People view most values as varying from mildly to very important. This nonsymmetrical
scale is stretched at the upper end and condensed at the bottom in order to map the way
people think about values, as revealed in pre-tests. The scale also enables respondents to
report opposition to values that they try to avoid expressing or promoting. This is especially
necessary for cross-cultural studies because people in one culture or subculture may reject
values from others cultures. The SVS has been translated into 47 languages.
The score for the importance of each value is the average rating given to items
designated a priori as markers of that value. The number of items to measure each value
ranges from three (hedonism) to eight (universalism), reflecting the conceptual breadth of the
values. Only value items that have demonstrated near-equivalence of meaning across cultures
in analyses using multi-dimensional scaling (SSA; Schwartz, 1992, 1994, 2005a) and
confirmatory factor analysis (CFA; Schwartz & Boehnke, 2004) are included in the indexes.
Across 212 samples (national representative, teacher, student), alpha reliabilities of the 10
values average .68, ranging from .61 for tradition to .75 for universalism (Schwartz, 2005b).

This followed Rokeachs (1973) idea that ends values and means values function differently. My
research suggests that this distinction has no substantive importance (Schwartz, 1992). One item in
the 56-item SVS (1988) was dropped and two others added in the revised 57-item version (1994).
Schwartz (1994) explains the rational for preferring rating of value importance to ranking.

The Portrait Values Questionnaire
The Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ) is an alternative to the SVS developed in
order to measure the ten basic values in samples of children from age 11, of the elderly, and
of persons not educated in Western schools that emphasize abstract, context-free thinking.
The SVS had not proven suitable to such samples. Equally important, to assess whether the
values theory is valid independent of method required an alternative instrument.6
The PVQ includes short verbal portraits of 40 different people, gender-matched with
the respondent (Schwartz, 2005b; Schwartz, et al., 2001). Each portrait describes a persons
goals, aspirations, or wishes that point implicitly to the importance of a value. For example:
Thinking up new ideas and being creative is important to him. He likes to do things in his
own original way describes a person for whom self-direction values are important. It is
important to him to be rich. He wants to have a lot of money and expensive things describes
a person who cherishes power values.
For each portrait, respondents answer: How much like you is this person? Responses
are: very much like me, like me, somewhat like me, a little like me, not like me, and not like
me at all. We infer respondents own values from their self-reported similarity to people
described implicitly in terms of particular values. Respondents are asked to compare the
portrait to themselves rather than themselves to the portrait. Comparing other to self directs
attention only to aspects of the other that are portrayed. So, the similarity judgment is also
likely to focus on these value-relevant aspects.
The verbal portraits describe each person in terms of what is important to him or her.
Thus, they capture the persons values without explicitly identifying values as the topic of
investigation. The PVQ asks about similarity to someone with particular goals and aspirations
(values) rather than similarity to someone with particular traits. The same term can refer both

Both Brocke and Bilsky (2005) and Oishi, Schimmack, Diener, and Suh (1998) have subsequently
developed paired comparison instruments based on the SVS to measure the ten basic values.

to a value and a trait (e.g., ambition, wisdom, obedience). However, people who value a goal
do not necessarily exhibit the corresponding trait; nor do those who exhibit a trait necessarily
value the corresponding goal. For example, people may value creativity as a guiding principle
in life but not be creative. And some creative people may attribute little importance to
creativity as a value that guides them.
The number of portraits for each value ranges from three (stimulation, hedonism, and
power) to six (universalism), reflecting the conceptual breadth of the values. The score for the
importance of each value is the average rating given to these items, all of which were
designated a priori as markers of a value. All the value items have demonstrated nearequivalence of meaning across cultures in analyses using multi-dimensional scaling (SSA;
Schwartz, 2005b). Across 14 samples from 7 countries, alpha reliabilities of the ten values
averaged .68, ranging from .47 for tradition to .80 for achievement (Schwartz 2005b).
The designers of the European Social Survey (ESS: www.europeansocialsurvey.org)
chose the theory and the PVQ as the basis for developing a human values scale to include in
the survey. The ESS version includes 21 items, most from the PVQ and a few revised to
encompass additional ideas in order better to cover the content of the ten different values.
Across 20 representative national samples, Alpha reliabilities of the values with this version
averaged .56, ranging from .36 (tradition) to .70 (achievement). These reliabilities reflect the
fact that only two items measure each value (three for universalism). Equally important,
given the constraint of so few items, the decisive factor in selecting items was to maximize
coverage of the varied conceptual components of each value rather than to increase internal
reliability. As seen below, despite low reliabilities these values predict behavior and attitudes
Correcting Response Tendencies

Respondents differ in their use of the response scales both in the SVS and the PVQ.
Some people rate most abstract values very important as guiding principles or most portraits
very similar to themselves. Others use the middle of the response scales, and still others rate
most values unimportant or most portraits dissimilar to themselves. The scale should measure
peoples value priorities, the relative importance of the different values. This is because it is
the tradeoff among relevant values, not the absolute importance of any one value, which
influences behavior and attitudes. Say, two people rate tradition values 4. Despite the same
absolute score, tradition values obviously have higher priority for a person who rates all other
values lower than for one who rates all other values higher. To measure value priorities
accurately, one must correct individual differences in use of the response scales. To correct,
we center each persons responses on his or her own mean (details in Schwartz, 2005a, 2006).
This converts absolute value scores into scores that indicate the relative importance of each
value to the person, i.e., the persons value priorities.
Cross-Cultural Evidence for the Theory of Value Content and Structure
As evidence for the theory, I bring the findings of assessments with data using the
SVS and data using the ESS version of the PVQ. The SVS data were gathered between 1988
and 2002 from 233 samples from 68 countries located on every inhabited continent (total N=
64,271). The samples include highly diverse geographic, cultural, linguistic, religious, age,
gender, and occupational groups. Samples include those that represent a nation or a region in
it (16), grade k-12 school teachers (74), undergraduate students from a variety of fields (111),
adolescents (10), and adult convenience samples (22).
For each sample, I prepared a matrix of Pearson correlations between the 56 or 57
value items. I analyzed this matrix with Similarity Structure Analysis (SSA) (Borg & Shye,
1995; Guttman, 1968). This nonmetric multi-dimensional scaling technique maps items as
points in a multidimensional space such that the distances between the points reflect the

interrelations among the items. The greater the conceptual similarity between any two items,
the more related they should be empirically and hence the closer their locations should be in
the multidimensional space. The SSA provides 2-dimensional spatial maps of relations among
values, like that shown in Figure 2, but without partition lines. The a priori assignment of items
to values guides the partitioning of the maps.
If the motivational content of values is the most powerful principle that organizes
people's value priorities, the relations among value items in the two-dimensional space should
reflect this content. Specifically, it should be possible to partition the space into distinct
regions containing the items that represent each of the 10 values. If the theory accurately
describes the structure of value relations, then the observed regions should form a circular
pattern similar to the theoretical structure of Figure 1. Because values form a motivational
continuum, the decisions about exact boundaries are arbitrary. Items near the boundaries of
adjacent values inevitably overlap somewhat in meaning. Consequently, in analyses in many
samples, value items from adjacent types of values may intermix rather than emerge in clearly
distinct regions. Rules for partitioning are described in Schwartz (1992, 2005a).
Figure 2 presents an example of SSA results for 57 value items from the aggregate
sample across all nations. Marker values are in bold. The locations of specific items in
regions of basic values in this figure completely support both the content of each value and
the circular structure of relations among them. Analyses in single samples typically show at
least small deviations such as intermixing of items from conceptually adjacent values and
misplacement of a few value items to nearby regions. In separate analyses in 233 samples,
however, every value formed either a distinctive region or an intermixed region with a
conceptually adjacent value in at least 96% of samples. Spirituality items formed a distinct
region in only 38% of samples. The proposed spirituality items emerged most frequently in
the tradition, benevolence, universalism, and security value regions, respectively.

These data show that people in most cultures respond to ten types of values as distinct
and that the broader value orientations captured by adjacent values are discriminated nearly
universally. Findings with the 21 item PVQ used in the ESS lead to the same conclusion. An
SSA based on the responses of 35,161 respondents from 20 countries yields a spatial array of
items that can be partitioned into 10 distinct regions, each encompassing the a priori value
markers. Moreover, the order of the values regions follows the theorized circular structure.
Separate analyses in each of the 20 countries that completed the values scale yield structures
very similar to Figure 2. In 15 countries, the ten values form ten distinct regions. In the
remaining five countries, eight values form distinct regions and the items of two conceptually
adjacent values intermix.
The SSA analyses provide graphic evidence to support the value theory across
cultures, measuring values with two quite different methods. Confirmatory factor analyses
provide more formal statistical tests of the content and structure of values. Schwartz and
Boehnke (2004) demonstrated configural invariance for ten latent value factors across 23
countries, using the SVS. Davidov, Schmidt, and Schwartz (2005) had to unify pairs of values
that are motivationally close into seven latent factors to obtain configural and metric
invariance across the 20 ESS countries. It was probably necessary to unify values because the
21-item ESS instrument measures each value with so few items.
Another question addressed in this research concerns whether the ten basic values
identified by the theory are comprehensive. Do they leave out any broad values to which
individuals across societies attribute at least moderate importance? It is difficult definitively
to reject the possibility that some universal values are missing. But the findings make this
unlikely. Collaborators in many different countries added value items they thought might be
missing in the SVS. When included in the SSAs, these items typically emerged in regions
appropriate to their meanings (e.g., national identity in security; chastity in conformity).

Thus, they identified no new, potentially universal values.
Were any basic types of values missing, we would expect empty regions in the SSA
maps. To test whether the analyses were sufficiently sensitive to identify potentially missing
values, I ran SSAs on the SVS data after intentionally excluding values. Only after dropping
all the items from two adjacent values did empty regions appear. The absence of empty
regions in the full SSAs therefore implies that no broad value orientations are missing. Future
theorizing may suggest additional, narrow values. It is likely, however, that the values in the
theory cover the full range of broad, near-universal values.7
The Pan-Cultural Baseline of Value Priorities8
Individuals differ substantially in the importance they attribute to the ten values. At the
societal level, however, consensus regarding the hierarchical order of the values is
surprisingly high. Across representative samples, using different instruments, the importance
ranks for the ten values are quite similar. Benevolence, universalism, and self-direction
values are most important. Power and stimulation values are least important. Tradition values,
measured with the SVS and full PVQ also have low importance, but the two items used in the
21-item PVQ of the ESS yield moderate importance ratings. Security values are 4th,
conformity values 5th or 6th, hedonism 7th, and achievement 6th to 8th. This hierarchy provides
a baseline to which to compare the priorities in any sample. Such comparison is critical for
identifying which, if any, of the value priorities in a sample are distinctively high or low. A
sample may rank benevolence highest, for example, but compared with other samples the
importance rating of this value may still be relatively low.
Why is there a pan-cultural consensus on value priorities? And why this particular
hierarchy of values? The pan-cultural consensus likely derives from the adaptive functions of

Wach and Hammer (2003) added sets of items intended to measure verit rationnelle and verit
non rationnelle to the PVQ in a French national sample. The former items emerged with selfdirection whose goal they express. The latter formed a region between power and security. As
formulated, however, those items measured beliefs more than values.
Schwartz & Bardi (2001) provide a detailed examination of this topic on which this section draws.

values in maintaining societies and from shared human nature (e.g., Campbell, 1975; Parsons,
1951; Schwartz & Bardi, 1997). Socializers and social control agents will discourage values
that clash with the smooth functioning of significant groups or the larger society. Values that
clash with human nature are unlikely to be important.
The basic social function of values is to motivate and control the behavior of group
members (Parsons, 1951). Two mechanisms are critical. First, values serve as internalized
guides for individuals; they relieve the group of the necessity for constant social control.
Second, people invoke values to define particular behaviors as socially appropriate, to justify
their demands on others, and to elicit desired behaviors. Socializers seek, consciously or not,
to instill values that promote group survival and prosperity. To explain the pan-cultural value
hierarchy, we must explain why particular values are viewed as more or less desirable across
Three demands of human nature and requirements of societal functioning are especially
relevant for explaining the observed pan-cultural value hierarchy. (1) Most important is
promoting and preserving cooperative and supportive relations among members of primary
groups. The most critical focus of value transmission is to develop commitment to positive
relations, identification with the group, and loyalty to its members. (2) Second, individuals
must be motivated to invest the time, the physical and the intellectual effort needed to
perform productive work, to solve problems that arise during task performance, and to
generate new ideas and technical solutions. (3) Third, it is socially functional to legitimize
gratification of self-oriented needs and desires to the extent this does not undermine group
goals. Rejection of all such gratification would frustrate individuals, leading them to withhold
their energies from the group and its tasks.

This does not mean that the pan-cultural value hierarchy reflects individual tendencies to respond in a
socially desirable manner to value surveys. The personality variable of social desirability does not
correlate consistently with the importance individuals attribute to the values that are high in the pancultural hierarchy (Schwartz, et al., 1997).

The high importance of benevolence values (1st) derives from the centrality of positive,
cooperative social relations in the family, the main setting for initial and continuing value
acquisition. Benevolence values provide the internalized motivational base for such relations.
They are reinforced and modeled early and repeatedly.
Universalism values (2nd) also contribute to positive social relations. They are
functionally important primarily when group members must relate to those with whom they
do not readily identify, in schools, work-places, and so on. They may even threaten in-group
solidarity during times of intergroup conflict. Therefore, universalism values are less
important than benevolence values.
Security (4th) and conformity (5th) values also promote harmonious social relations. They
do this by helping to avoid conflict and violations of group norms. But these values are
usually acquired in response to demands and sanctions to avoid risks, control forbidden
impulses, and restrict the self. This reduces their importance because it conflicts with
gratifying self-oriented needs and desires. Moreover, the emphasis of these values on
maintaining the status quo conflicts with innovation in finding solutions to group tasks.
Acting on tradition values (overall 8th) can also contribute to group solidarity and thus to
smooth group functioning and survival. But tradition values find little expression in the
behavior that interaction partners have a vital interest in controlling. They largely concern
commitment to abstract beliefs and symbols.
Pursuing power values (10th) may harm or exploit others and damage social relations.
Still, they have some importance because power values help to motivate individuals to work
for group interests. They also justify the hierarchical social arrangements in all societies.
Self-direction (3rd) values serve the second and third basic functions of values without
undermining the first. They foster creativity, motivate innovation, and promote coping with
challenges the group may face in times of crisis. Behavior based on these values is

intrinsically motivated. It satisfies individual needs without harming others. Hence, it rarely
threatens positive social relations.
The moderate importance of achievement values (7th) may reflect a compromise among
the bases of value importance. On the positive side, these values motivate individuals to
invest in group tasks. They also legitimize self-enhancing behavior, so long as it contributes
to group welfare. On the negative side, these values foster efforts to attain social approval that
may disrupt harmonious social relations and interfere with group goal attainment.
The importance of hedonism (6th) and stimulation (9th) values derives from the
requirement to legitimize inborn needs to attain pleasure and arousal. These values are
probably more important than power values because, unlike power values, their pursuit does
not necessarily threaten positive social relations.10
Roots of the Dynamic Structure of Value Relations
Having shown that the structure of relations among values may be universal, we now
look more closely at the possible roots of this structure. Thus far, we identified congruence
and conflict among the values that are implicated simultaneously in decisions as one dynamic
principle that organizes the structure of values. Close examination of the structure suggests
other dynamic principles (see Figure 3).11
A second principle is the interests that value attainment serves. Values in the top panel
of Figure 3 (power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction) primarily regulate
how one expresses personal interests and characteristics. Values in the bottom panel
(benevolence, universalism, tradition, conformity, security) primarily regulate how one
relates socially to others and affects their interests. Figure 1 shows that security and
universalism values are boundary values. They primarily concern others interests, but their

Schwartz and Bardi (2001) use these same principles to explain the major deviation from the pancultural hierarchy found in sub-Saharan African samples where conformity is most important.
The value theory specifies the order of the 10 values. Figures 1, 2, and 3 show the same order, but
each orients the circle differently. Rotation of the multi-dimensional representation of values does not
affect the meaning of the structure.

goals also regulate pursuit of own interests.
Relations of values to anxiety are a third organizing principle. Pursuit of values on the
left in Figure 3 serves to cope with anxiety due to uncertainty in the social and physical
world. People seek to avoid conflict (conformity) and to maintain the current order (tradition,
security) or actively to control threat (power). Values on the right (hedonism, stimulation,
self-direction, universalism, benevolence) express anxiety-free motivations. Achievement
values do both: Meeting social standards successfully may control anxiety and it may affirm
ones sense of competence.
The anxiety aspect of the value structure relates to the two basic self-regulation
systems that Higgins (1997) has proposed. One system regulates avoidance of punishment
and focuses people on the goal of preventing loss. Security needs, obligations, and the threat
of loss trigger this system. Values on the left in Figure 3, most centrally security and
conformity, motivate this type of self-regulation. They guide attention and action to avoid or
overcome actual or potential danger. Higgins second system regulates pursuit of rewards and
focuses people on the goal of promoting gain. Nurturance needs, ideals, and opportunities to
gain trigger this system. Values on the right in Figure 3, most centrally self-direction,
motivate this type of self-regulation. They guide attention and action to intrinsically
rewarding social, intellectual, and emotional opportunities.
The structure of relations among the ten values may also have a biogenetic basis. The
ten values map exactly onto four innate drives proposed by Lawrence and Nohria (2002.
Presumably, these drives emerged as a set of decision guides in the course of evolution and
are central to human nature. The four drives are: (1) to acquireto seek, take, control, and
hold material and status resources and pleasurable experiences; (2) to bondto form social
relationships and develop mutually caring commitments; (3) to learnto know, comprehend,
believe, appreciate, and understand their environment and themselves via curiosity; (4) to

defendto defend themselves and their valued accomplishments whenever they perceive
them to be endangered. The drives to acquire and to bond often come into conflict when
taking decisions about an action, as do the drives to learn and to defend.
Each value appears to express one drive or a blend of two. Values transform drives
into desirable goals that are available to awareness and that can therefore be used in
conscious planning and decision-making. The matches are as follows: benevolenceto bond;
universalismto bond + to learn; self-directionto learn; stimulationto learn (+ to acquire
pleasurable experience); hedonism(to learn) + to acquire pleasurable experience;
achievementto acquire; powerto acquire + to defend; securityto defend; conformity
and traditionto defend + to bond. This mapping of values onto drives goes around the value
circle (Figure 1). The oppositions between values parallel the conflicts between drives that
Lawrence and Nohria (2002) identify. The matching of values to drives suggests that an
innate basis may help account for the near-universality of the value structure.
Sources of Individual Differences in Basic Values
Processes Linking Background Variables to Value Priorities
Peoples life circumstances provide opportunities to pursue or express some values
more easily than others. For example, wealthy persons can pursue power values more easily,
and people who work in the free professions can express self-direction values more easily.
Life circumstances also impose constraints against pursuing or expressing values. Having
dependent children constrains parents to limit their pursuit of stimulation values. And people
with strongly ethnocentric peers find it hard to express universalism values. In other words,
life circumstances make the pursuit or expression of different values more or less rewarding
or costly.
Typically, people adapt their values to their life circumstances. They upgrade the
importance they attribute to values they can readily attain and downgrade the importance of

values whose pursuit is blocked (Schwartz & Bardi, 1997). Thus, people in jobs that afford
freedom of choice increase the importance of self-direction values at the expense of
conformity values (Kohn & Schooler, 1983). Upgrading attainable values and downgrading
thwarted values applies to most, but not to all values. The reverse occurs with values that
concern material well-being and security. When such values are blocked, their importance
increases; when they are attained easily, their importance drops. Thus, people who suffer
economic hardship and social upheaval attribute more importance to power and security
values than those who live in relative comfort and safety (Inglehart, 1997).
Peoples age, education, gender, income and other characteristics affect their
socialization and learning experiences, the social roles they play, the expectations and
sanctions they encounter, and the abilities they develop. Thus, differences in background
characteristics largely determine the differences in life circumstances to which people are
exposed, which, in turn, affect their value priorities. This section examines key sociodemographic variables as crucial antecedents of individual differences in value priorities.
Age and Life Course
As people grow older, they tend to become more embedded in social networks, more
committed to habitual patterns, and less exposed to arousing and exciting changes and
challenges (Glen, 1974). This implies that conservation values (tradition, conformity,
security) should increase with age and openness to change values (self-direction, stimulation,
hedonism) decrease. Once people enter families of procreation and attain stable positions in
the occupational world, they tend to become less preoccupied with their own strivings and
more concerned with the welfare of others (Veroff, Reuman, & Feld, 1984). This implies that
self-transcendence values (benevolence, universalism) increase with age and selfenhancement values (power, achievement) decrease.12


For more detail, see Schwartz (2005b).

The first column of Table 1 reports correlations of age with values across the 20 ESS
countries. The number of countries in which the correlation was in the same direction as the
overall correlation appears in parentheses. All the observed correlations confirm the expected
associations and support the probable processes of influence. All associations are monotonic.
Various theories of gender difference lead researchers to postulate that men emphasize
agentic-instrumental values like power and achievement, while females emphasize
expressive-communal values like benevolence and universalism (Schwartz & Rubel, 2005).
Most theorists expect gender differences to be small. Column 2 of Table 1 supports
expectations regarding both the nature and strength of value relations to gender in the ESS
data. Analyses with the SVS and PVQ instruments across 68 countries yield similar results.
Gender differences for eight values are consistent, statistically significant, and small;
differences for conformity and tradition values are inconsistent. Both evolutionary and social
role theories help to explain how adaptations to prehistoric and/or current life circumstances
might produce the observed gender differences (Schwartz & Rubel, 2005).
Educational experiences presumably promote the intellectual openness, flexibility,
and breadth of perspective essential for self-direction values (Kohn & Schooler 1983). These
same experiences increase the openness to non-routine ideas and activity central to
stimulation values. In contrast, these experiences challenge unquestioning acceptance of
prevailing norms, expectations, and traditions, thereby undermining conformity and tradition
values. The increasing competencies to cope with life that people acquire through education
may also reduce the importance of security values. Column 3 of Table 1 reveals the expected
positive correlations of years of formal education with self-direction and stimulation values
and negative correlations with conformity, tradition, and security values.

In addition, education correlates positively with achievement values. The constant
grading and comparing of performance in schools, emphasizing meeting external standards,
could account for this. The associations of education with values are largely linear, with the
exception of universalism values. Universalism values begin to rise only in the last years of
secondary school. They are substantially higher among those who attend university. This may
reflect both the broadening of horizons that university education provides and a tendency for
those who give high priority to universalism values to seek higher education.
Affluence creates opportunities to engage in discretionary activities and to choose
ones life style freely. It reduces security threats and the need to restrict ones impulses and to
maintain supportive, traditional ties. Higher income should therefore promote valuing of
stimulation, self-direction, hedonism, and achievement values and render security,
conformity, and tradition values less important. The correlations between total household
income (12 categories) and value priorities, in column 4 of Table 1, support these
expectations. Income contributed to higher stimulation, self-direction, achievement, and
power values, primarily in the upper third of the income distribution.
The Pattern of Value Relations with Other Variables: An Integrated System
Most research on the antecedents or consequences of values has examined empirical
relations between a few target values and a particular background variable, attitude, or
behavior (e.g., social class and obedienceAlwin, 1984; equality and civil rights--Rokeach,
1973). The value theory enables us to treat peoples value systems as coherent structures. It
allows us to relate the full set of values to other variables in an organized, integrated manner.
The critical idea is the circular motivational structure of values. This structure has two
implications for value relations: (1) Values that are adjacent in the structure should have
similar associations with other variables. (2) Associations of values with other variables should

decrease monotonically in both directions around the circle from the most positively to the
most negatively associated value. That is, the order of associations for the whole set of ten
values follows a predictable pattern. If a background variable, trait, attitude, or behavior
correlates most positively with one value and most negatively with another, the expected
pattern of associations with all other values follows from the circular value structure.
The data in Table 2 illustrate this pattern. Table 2 lists the values in an order
corresponding to their order around the circular structure of value relations (cf. Figure 1). The
correlations in Table 2 generally exhibit both features of value relations. Adjacent values have
largely similar associations with the background variables and the associations of the values
largely decrease monotonically in both directions around the circle from the most positively to
the most negatively associated value.
The integrated structure of values makes it easier to theorize about relations of value
priorities to other variables. Once theory identifies the values likely to relate most and least
positively to a variable, the circular motivational structure then implies a specific pattern of
positive, negative, and zero associations for the remaining values. Next, one develops
theoretical explanations for why or why not to expect these implied associations. The
integrated structure serves as a template that reveals deviations from the expected pattern.
The association of education with achievement values is one such deviation. Deviations are
especially interesting because they direct us to search for special conditions that enhance or
weaken relations of a variable with values (Schwartz, 1996).13
Predicting Behavior with Basic Values
Do peoples value priorities influence their behavior in systematic, predictable ways? I
first examine processes through which values can influence behavior. Then I describe
exemplary studies of value-behavior relations.

For example, Sagiv and Schwartz (1995) show how unique aspects of relations among Jews,
Muslims, and Christians in Israel modify associations of value priorities with readiness for contact
with out-groups.

Linking Processes
Value activation. Values affect behavior only if they are activated (Verplanken &
Holland, 2002). Activation may or may not entail conscious thought about a value. Much
information-processing occurs outside of awareness. The more accessible a value, i.e., the
more easily it comes to mind, the more likely it will be activated. Because more important
values are more accessible (Bardi, 2000), they relate more to behavior.
Value-relevant aspects of situations activate values. A job offer may activate
achievement values and a car accident may activate security values. Even coincidental
increases in the accessibility of a value, say by coming across value-relevant words in a
puzzle, increase chances it will be activated. If it is a high-priority value, it may then lead to
behavior. Focusing attention on the self may also increase value-behavior relations because it
activates values that are central to the self-concept, values of high importance. Verplanken
and Holland (2002) demonstrated these effects in experiments where they manipulated the
accessibility of values in one study and self-focus in another. Activation experiments are
particularly important because they show that activating values causes behavior. The studies
of value-behavior relations discussed below cannot demonstrate causality. Although the
reasoning is causal, they are all correlational.
Values as a source of motivation. Peoples values, like their needs, induce valences on
possible actions (Feather, 1995). That is, actions become more attractive, more valued
subjectively, to the extent that they promote attainment of valued goals. People who value
stimulation would likely be attracted to a challenging job offer whereas those who value
security might find the same offer threatening and unattractive. High-priority values are
central to the self-concept. Sensing an opportunity to attain them sets off an automatic,
positive, affective response to actions that will serve them. Sensing a threat to value
attainment sets off a negative affective response.

Values may influence the attractiveness of actions even without conscious weighing
of alternatives and their consequences. We rarely realize the influence of our values when we
choose which program to watch on TV, for example. Conscious thought may later modify the
attractiveness of actions by bringing their many consequences to mind (e.g., impacts of taking
a new job on the family). Basic values also affect action through the specific attitudes they
underlie. Even when values motivate people, they are unlikely to act unless they believe they
have the capacity to carry out the action and that it is likely to produce the desired outcomes
(Feather, 1995).
Influence of values on attention, perception, and interpretation in situations. High
priority values are chronic goals that guide people to seek out and attend to value-relevant
aspects of a situation (Schwartz, Sagiv, & Boehnke, 2000). One woman may attend to the
opportunities a job offers for self-direction, another to the constraints it imposes on her social
life. Each defines the situation in light of her own important values. Each interpretation
suggests that a different line of action is desirable. Value priorities also influence the weight
people give to each value issue. Even if both women recognize the same value-relevant
opportunities and constraints, the weight they give them will differ depending on their value
Influence of values on the planning of action. More important goals induce a stronger
motivation to plan thoroughly (Gollwitzer, 1996). The higher the priority given to a value, the
more likely people will form action plans that can lead to its expression in behavior. Planning
focuses people on the pros of desired actions rather than the cons. It enhances their belief in
their ability to reach the valued goal and increases persistence in the face of obstacles and
distractions. By promoting planning, value importance increases value-consistent behavior.
Exemplary Studies

As a first example of value-behavior relations, consider three studies of everyday
behavior. Bardi and Schwartz (2003) generated ten sets of 6-10 behaviors that primarily
express one of the ten basic values. Participants completed the SVS. Later, they rated how
frequently they had performed each behavior in the past year, relative to their opportunities to
perform it. In studies 2 and 3, intimate partners or close peers rated participants behavior too.
The behavior indexes were the average frequency ratings of the behavior items that express
each value.
Column 2 and 3 of Table 2 list the correlations between each value and its relevant
behaviors. All correlations with self-reported behavior are significant and most are
substantial. With other-reported behavior, all but the security correlation are significant. Selfreports probably exaggerate value-behavior relations, other reports probably underestimate
Some values correlate more strongly with their relevant behaviors than others do.
Why? In this study, normative group pressure was greatest for security, conformity,
benevolence, and achievement behaviors. Yielding to normative pressure, even when a
behavior opposes ones own values, weakened value-behavior relations. Second, external
pressure is weaker for behaviors that express values of little importance to the group,
permitting own values to have more influence. Tradition and stimulation values had
especially low mean importance in these groups. Hence, priorities for these values showed
stronger value-behavior correlations.
A study of cooperative behavior in the laboratory (Schwartz, 1996) illustrates the
crucial idea of trade-offs between competing values in guiding behavioral choice. Typically,
the consequences of a behavior promote the expression or attainment of one set of values at
the expense of the opposing values in the circle. To predict a behavior successfully, we must
consider the importance of the values the behavior will harm as well as those it will promote.

The probability of a behavior depends on the relative priority a person gives to the relevant,
competing values.
Participants who completed the SVS were paired with another student to play a
game. They were to choose one of three alternatives for allocating money between self and a
member of their group whose identity was not revealed. Each would receive the amount of
money they allocated to self plus the amount their partner allocated to them. The cooperative
choice entailed taking the equivalent of 1 for self and giving 0.8 to the other. Compared to
the other choices, this meant sacrificing a little of what one could gain (0.2) and giving the
maximum to the other. The other two choices were both not cooperative, maximizing either
one's absolute gain (individualism) or relative gain (competing).
Analyses of the consequences of cooperative and noncooperative behavior for the
goals of the ten values suggested that benevolence and power values, opposed in the circle,
are most relevant. Cooperation is more a matter of conventional decency and thoughtfulness
in this setting than of basic commitment to social justice. Hence, benevolence values should
relate to cooperation most strongly. Power values should relate most strongly to
noncooperation. They emphasize competitive advantage and legitimize maximizing own
gain even at the expense of others. The correlations in column 3 of Table 2 confirm the
hypothesis. Benevolence correlates most positively, power most negatively. Moreover, as
expected, based on the motivational structure of value relations, the order of the correlations
follows the order around the value circle from benevolence to power.
Analyzing the data in another way demonstrates clearly that trade-offs among
competing values guided behavior. Splitting the sample at the median on benevolence and on
power values and crossing these sub-samples yielded four groups. In the group that valued
benevolence highly and gave low importance to power values, 87% cooperated. This was
twice the rate in any other group (35%-43%). Thus, to elicit a high level of cooperation

required both high priority for values that promote cooperation (benevolence) and low
priority for values that oppose it (power).
Voting. The next example of how value systems relate, as integrated wholes, to
behavior takes us outside the laboratory. There were two main coalitions in the Italian
elections of 2001, center-right and center-left. Both coalitions championed liberal democracy.
But there were also policy differences. To the extent that citizens recognize these differences,
the values whose attainment is most affected by them should influence their voting patterns.
The center-right emphasized entrepreneurship and the market economy, security, and
family and national values. The intended consequences of such a policy are compatible with
power, security, and achievement values. But they may harm the opposing values in the value
circle, universalism and, perhaps, benevolence. The latter values call for promoting the
welfare of others even at cost to the self. And universalism values express concern for the
weak, those most likely to suffer from market-driven policies. In contrast, the center-left
advocated social welfare, social justice, equality, and tolerance even of groups that might
disturb the conventional social order. The intended consequences of such a policy are
compatible with universalism and benevolence values. They conflict, however, with pursuing
individual power and achievement values and with security values that emphasize preserving
the social order.
Thus, political choice in these elections consisted of a trade-off between power,
security, and achievement values on the right and universalism and benevolence values on the
left. On that basis, I hypothesized: Supporting the center-right vs. center-left correlates most
positively with the priority given to power and security values and most negatively with the
priority given to universalism values. Correlations with the priority of achievement values
should also be positive, and those with benevolence values negative. Stated as an integrated
hypothesis for the whole value circle: Correlations should decline from most positive for

power and security values to most negative for universalism values in both directions around
the circle (cf. Figure 1).
Adults from the Rome region completed the PVQ and reported the coalition they had
voted for in the 2001 election. We coded vote as (0) for center-left and (1) for center-right.
We computed point-biserial correlations of voting with the 10 values, controlling gender, age,
income, and education. Column 4 of Table 2 presents correlations between value priorities
and voting for the center-right.
As hypothesized, the correlation of universalism was the most negative, and the
correlation of benevolence was negative too. The positive correlations with security, power,
and achievement were also significant. Figure 4 portrays the pattern of correlations, showing
the expected sinusoidal curve that reflects the motivational continuum of values. To put the
strength of these correlations in perspective, note that correlations of individuals income,
occupation, education, gender, marital status, and age with vote were all less than .08.
Moreover, values explained almost three times as much variance in voting as did the Big 5
personality traits (Caprara, et al., 2005).
For a final illustration of the effects of basic values on behavior, we turn to political
activism. Data are from 1244 French citizens in the 2003 national representative sample of
the ESS. The 21-item PVQ measured value priorities. Political activism was measured as the
number of politically relevant, legal acts out of nine that respondents reported performing in
the past year (e.g., contacting a politician, participating in a public demonstration, boycotting
a product). Because universalism values promote social justice and environmental
preservationgoals of much activismthey should correlate most strongly with activism.
Because activism is risky and oriented to change, security and conformity should show the
most negative correlations. Both reasoning about the motivations underlying activism and the
order of the integrated motivational circle of values suggested weaker positive correlations

for benevolence and self-direction values and weaker negative correlations for power and
tradition values.
Column 5 of Table 2 presents both the zero-order correlations of value priorities with
political activism and the correlations controlling five socio-demographic variables. These
correlations fully confirm expectations. Figure 4 portrays the pattern of correlations,
revealing the expected sinusoidal curve that reflects the motivational continuum of values
with one exception. Stimulation values show a higher than expected positive correlation. This
deviation from the curve points to the fact that political activism is motivated not only by
ideological considerations such as those that express universalism or security values. The
simple pursuit of excitement also plays a role.14
To conclude this section, consider the effects of basic values on an attitude of major
concern in Europe today, opposition to immigration. Three items in the ESS measured
opposition to accepting other immigrantsthose of a different race/ethnic group, from
poorer European, and poorer non-European countries. Here I focus on the sample of 1125
native born residents of France.15
Opposition to other immigrants in the current French atmosphere likely reflects
concern with preserving the status quoprotecting personal and social security, preserving
secular and Christian French traditions, and maintaining widespread norms. Those for whom
security, tradition, and conformity values are especially important should more strongly
oppose immigration. In contrast those who value openness to change should feel less
threatened and might welcome enrichment of their society. Thus, people for whom selfdirection, stimulation, and hedonism values are especially important should oppose
immigration less. Moreover, those who cherish universalism values, with their goal of

Schwartz (2006) reports analyses of individual and country differences in political activism in all 20
ESS countries.
Schwartz (2006) reports analyses of individual and country differences in opposition to immigration
in 15 West European countries.

acceptance, appreciation, and concern for the welfare even of those who are different, should
oppose immigration least.
The observed pattern of correlations fully supports these hypotheses. Security values
correlate most positively with opposition (.39) and universalism values correlated most
negatively (-.28). The other predicted correlations are also significant (all >/.15/, p<.001). In
order to provide a fuller picture of the antecedents of opposition to accepting other
immigrants in France, I regressed opposition on the value priorities and on the following
background variables: age, gender, years of education completed, marital status, having ever
had children at home, having been unemployed for 3 months or more, subjective assessment
of adequacy of household income, degree of religiosity. Figure 5 presents results of the
Universalism values predicted opposition most strongly (negative), followed by
security values (positive). Thus, the tradeoff between giving high priority to promoting the
welfare of all others (universalism values) and avoiding personal, national, and interpersonal
threat (security values) has the greatest impact on readiness to accept other immigrants.
Older people, those who are married, and women oppose immigration more, perhaps because
they feel more threatened by perceived social disruption. Greater education and religiosity
predict less opposition, whereas tradition values predict more opposition. Since religiosity is
in the regression, the finding for tradition values signifies opposition based on protecting nonreligious customs and ways of doing things.
The values theory has identified ten basic, motivationally distinct values that people
in virtually all cultures implicitly recognize. The validity of this claim does not depend on the
way we measure values. The ten basic values emerge whether people report explicitly on
their values (SVS) or whether we infer peoples values indirectly from their judgments of

how much various other people are like them (PVQ). The values theory applies in
populations exposed to westernized schooling but also in populations with little or no
education. We still do not know whether the theory applies in more isolated tribal groups with
minimal exposure to urbanization, mass media, and the market economy.
Especially striking is the emergence of the same circular structure of relations among
values across countries and measurement instruments. People everywhere experience conflict
between pursuing openness to change values or conservation values. They also experience
conflict between pursuing self-transcendence or self-enhancement values. Conflicts between
specific values (e.g., power vs. universalism, tradition vs. hedonism) are also near-universal. I
suggested several dynamic processes that may account for the observed circular structure.
These processes may point the way toward a unifying theory of human motivation.
An astonishing finding of the cross-cultural research is the high level of consensus
regarding the relative importance of the ten values across societies. In the vast majority of
nations studied, benevolence, universalism, and self-direction values appear at the top of the
hierarchy and power, tradition, and stimulation values appear at the bottom. This implies that
the aspects of human nature and of social functioning that shape individual value priorities
are widely shared across cultures. I proposed an initial, functionalist explanation of this
phenomenon. It deserves much more analysis in depth.
Individual value priorities arise out of adaptation to life experiences. Adaptation may
take the form of upgrading attainable values and downgrading thwarted values. But the
reverse occurs with values that concern material well-being and security. Socio-demographic
characteristics contribute to explaining individual differences in value priorities because they
represent different sets of life experiences. In keeping with the structure of values identified
by the theory, antecedents affect priorities in a systematic manner. They tend to enhance the
importance of values that are adjacent in the value circle (e.g., conformity and security) but to

undermine the importance of the competing values (e.g., self-direction and stimulation). I
have drawn only the simplest picture of the separate, linear effects of a few background
variables. Future research must address possible interactions among background variables.
Values influence most if not all motivated behavior. The values theory provides a
framework for relating the system of ten values to behavior that enriches analysis, prediction,
and explanation of value-behavior relations. It makes clear that behavior entails a trade-off
between competing values. Almost any behavior has positive implications for expressing,
upholding, or attaining some values, but negative implications for the values across the
structural circle in opposing positions. People tend to behave in ways that balance their
opposing values. They choose alternatives that promote higher as against lower priority
values. As a result, the order of positive and negative associations between any specific
behavior and the ten values tends to follow the order of the value circle.
This chapter several examples of how value priorities relate to behavior and attitudes.
Researchers in more than 30 countries have used the system of ten basic values to understand
and sometimes to predict other individual differences. Among the behaviors studied are use
of alcohol, condoms and drugs, delinquency, shoplifting, competition, hunting, various
environmental and consumer behaviors, moral, religious and sexual behavior, autocratic,
independent and dependent behavior, choice of university major, occupation and medical
specialty, participation in sports, social contact with out-groups, and numerous voting studies.
Among attitudinal variables studied are job satisfaction, organizational commitment,
trust in institutions, attitudes toward ethical dilemmas, toward the environment, sexism,
religiosity, and identification with ones nation or group. Among personality variables studied
are social desirability, social dominance, authoritarianism, interpersonal problems, subjective
well-being, worries, and the Big 5 personality traits. This proliferation of behavior, attitude,

and personality studies testifies to the fruitfulness of the values theory and its promise for
future research.

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Table 1: Correlations of Values with Age, Gender, Education, and Income in 20 Countries in
the European Social Survey



Gender (Female)







.26 (20)
.32 (20)
.33 (20)
.13 (20)
.15 (19)
-.08 (15)
-.37 (20)
-.33 (20)
-.26 (20)
-.09 (18)

.11 (20)
.02 (13)
.08 (20)
.18 (20)
.12 (20)
-.06 (19)
-.09 (20)
-.06 (18)
-.12 (20)
-.14 (19)

-.20 (20)
-.22 (20)
-.22 (20)
-.04 (11)
.06 (16)
.19 (20)
.16 (19)
.08 (15)
.14 (20)
.02 (13)

-.12 (20)
-.14 (20)
-.16 (20)
-.05 (15)
-.01 (14)
.10 (18)
.11 (18)
.08 (19)
.12 (19)
.08 (19)

Correlation does not differ significantly from zero.

In parentheses is the number of countries with correlations in the indicated direction.
Due to missing data, the number of respondents varies slightly around the indicated Ns.

Table 2. Correlations of Value Priorities with BehaviorA
Behavior across Contexts

Cooperation in
a Game



Vote for
vs. Center-Left
(PVQ) Italy







N= 293

































































Values are corrected for scale use (see text).

Ns vary slightly due to missing data.

In parentheses are partial correlations controlling age, gender, education, income, and
marital status
***p < .001, **p < .01, *p < .05, 1-tailed.















Figure 1. Theoretical model of relations among ten motivational types of value













































Figure 2. 2-Dimensional Smallest Space Analysis: Individual Level Value Structure Averaged Across 68 Countries

Anxiety-based values
Prevention of loss goals
Self-protection against threat
Regulating how
one expresses
personal interests
& characteristics
Personal Focus

Anxiety-free values
Promotion of gain goals
Self-expansion and growth


Openness to Change





Social Focus
Regulating how
one relates
socially to others
and affects them








Figure 3. Dynamic underpinnings of the universal value structure

Figure 5. Regression to Predict Opposition to Other Immigrants by Native Born French