Tracing the roots of the "Me Generation"

Monday, February 9, 2015
Baby Boomers have been referred to as the Me Generation, but new research indicates that people actually started to become increasingly self-centred more than 100 years ago.Igor Grossmann
 
In the first study of its kind covering a 150-year period, researchers looked at U.S. culture to determine how and why people there became more independent and less reliant on family ties, conformity and duty. This phenomenon is called individualism.
 
“We found that changes in the social class structure precede changes in individualism,” said Professor Igor Grossmann, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo and the study’s first author. "As demands of U.S. society shifted from manual labour to office jobs, Americans gained education and wealth, both of which promote self-direction and ultimately facilitate individualism."
 
Grossmann and Professor Michael Varnum, of Arizona State University, found that the significant cultural change American society experienced started before the turn of the last century. 
 
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