Individuality & Relatedness – Evolution of a Fundamental Dialectic

American Psychological Association 1994

Western psychologies have traditionally given greater importance to self-development than to interpersonal relatedness, stressing the development of autonomy, independence, and identity as central factors in the mature personality. In contrast, women, many minority groups, and non- Western societies have generally placed greater emphasis on issues of relatedness. This article traces the in- dividualistic bias and recent challenges to this view. It is proposed that evolutionary pressures of natural selection result in two basic developmental lines: interpersonal relatedness and self-definition, which interact in a dialectical fashion. An increasingly mature sense of self is contingent on interpersonal relationships; conversely, the continued development of increasingly mature interpersonal relationships is contingent on mature self-definition. Conclusions include implications for social policy and for facilitating more balanced development of both dimensions all members of society.

Individuality and Relatedness – Evolution of a Fundamental Dialectic