Expanding our kind: A pan-cultural study of the animistic principle of ontological parity.

Document Type


Publication Date


Originally Published In

APA’s The Humanistic Psychologist

Volume Number


Issue Number


Page Numbers



Conducted in four societies—Taiwan, India, Mainland China, and the United States—this pan-cultural study extended and replicated a previous finding, with Iranian samples, of the possibility and benefits of expanding our “kind” via priming. The mechanism behind this phenomenon is explained through the principle of ontological parity. Derived from animism as articulated in Chinese folk beliefs, ontological parity refers to perceived sameness in being, a quality that is believed to be expandable. This formulation broadens the conceptual scope of intimacy thereby allow for novel hypothesis testing. It was predicted and found that experimentally expanding ontological parity to nonhuman and nonliving elements of nature was associated with increase in relational solitude, and decrease in negative emotions, especially anger and fear. Far-reaching implications of this investigation, ranging from the possibility of intimacy in solitude to morality and the human machine interface, are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)