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Intergenerational Transmission of Values

On April 7 – 11, the International Scientific-Educational Laboratory for Socio-Cultural Research hosted a lecture series on intergenerational transmission of values. The lectures were a part of “Advanced theory and methodology in social sciences” training course.

The guest lecturers were Ariel Knafo (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) and Klaus Boehnke  (Jacobs University Bremen, Germany). The lectures were attended by the members of the laboratory, other HSE staff, and students enrolled in Applied Social Psychology Master’s program. 

Ariel Knafo reviewed the theories of intergenerational transmission of values and presented his own research on the effects of migration on the transmission of values. Knafo covered in depth the methodological problems of studying value transmission, and cautioned the listeners from explaining all correlations between the values of parents and the children by the process of transmission. According to Knafo, there are four possible factors that may be responsible for such correlations: shared environment, shared genetics, parents’ influence, and child’s influence. Knafo also stressed the importance of the distinction between parents’ personal values and their socialization values – those that they are willing to transmit to their children.

Klaus Boehnke presented on the functions and the development of values, and also presented his research on the role of Zietgeist (the spirit of the age) in the intergenerational transmission of values. 340 families have participated in a large scale study. The values of the participants were measured with the Hierarchic Self-Interest scale. Data analysis has shown that the prevalent values of the society affect the values of adolescents, and that the value transmission is stronger in families distant from the Zeitgeist – presumably because these families communicate more intensely about values.