The transmission and stability of cultural life scripts: a cross-cultural study

Steve M.J. Janssen, Shamsul Haque

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Cultural life scripts are shared knowledge about the timing of important life events. In the present study, we examined whether cultural life scripts are transmitted through traditions and whether there are additional ways through which they can be attained by asking Australian and Malaysian participants which information sources they had used to generate the life script of their culture. Participants hardly reported that they had used cultural and religious traditions. They more often reported that they had used their own experiences and experiences of relatives and friends. They also reported the use of comments of relatives and friends and the use of newspapers, books, movies and television programmes. Furthermore, we examined the stability of life scripts and similarities and differences across cultures. We found that life scripts are stable cognitive structures and that there are, besides cross-cultural differences in the content, small cross-cultural differences in the valence and distribution of life script events, with the Australian life script containing more positive events and more events expected to occur before the age of 16.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)131-143
    Number of pages13
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Autobiographical memory
    • cultural life script
    • identity
    • social learning theory
    • vicarious memories

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