In this review, we call for a cross‐cultural examination of mentalizing. To this end, we first outline theoretical directions for understanding mentalizing in the context of the universalism–relativism debate. Next, we systematically review cross‐cultural studies of five concepts, each of which overlaps with separate dimensions of mentalizing: Theory of Mind, empathy, perspective‐taking, alexithymia, and mindfulness. Based on healthy and clinical samples investigated across more than 45 cultures, we draw several conclusions. First, mentalizing profiles may vary between cultures (e.g., self > other mentalizing in individualistic cultures, self<other mentalizing in collectivistic cultures). Second, linguistic factors, value preferences, and parenting characteristics may explain these differences. Finally, the data generally support the link between mentalizing and mental health across cultures, yet further research is needed.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc., on behalf of the American Psychological Association. All rights reserved.
- Theory of Mind
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology