The Value of Thinking About Feelings Across Cultures: A Preliminary Investigation of the Mentalizing Values Scale

Erez Aival-Naveh, Lily Rothschild-Yakar, Joonha Park, Jenny Kurman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this proof-of-concept paper, we aimed to conduct a preliminary investigation of a newly developed scale that focuses on what we have termed “mentalizing values”—that is, the extent to which thinking about internal mental states is valued across different cultures. To this end, we report the results of a cross-cultural comparison of mentalizing values, Schwartz’s value dimensions, and two overlapping concepts: externally oriented thinking (EOT) and emotional awareness (EA), in a sample of students from Japan, the UK, and Israel (N = 360). The results indicate that the mentalizing values scale (MVS) has good internal consistency in different languages and seems to capture a similar unidimensional construct across the three cultures. In Israel, people ranked mentalizing values as very important for them relative to other values, whereas in Japan, mentalizing values were relatively less important to people. In the UK, the relative importance of mentalizing values was between that assigned by their counterparts from Israel and Japan. EOT and EA were predicted by mentalizing values and by conservation across cultures, with mentalizing values explaining cultural differences over and above conservation, and mentalizing values being the only significant predictor within each culture. Finally, a parallel mediation model indicated that cultural differences in EOT and EA could be explained by mentalizing values and conservation. Overall, these findings lend initial support for the utility of the MVS and suggest that cultural variations in mentalizing values can be heavily intertwined with concepts that emphasize people’s tendency or capacity to think about feelings, such as EOT and EA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-379
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • culture
  • emotional awareness
  • externally oriented thinking
  • mentalizing
  • values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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