Using voluntary blood donation as a case example, the study on which this article is based explored not only the extent, or breadth, of community involvement in social policy behaviours, but also the continuity, or depth, of this commitment. Demographic and motivational data were collected through a postal questionnaire returned by 1,784 persons who had voluntary donated blood at least once in metropolitan Toronto between 1974 and 1978. An empirical distinction was also drawn between the 'active' and the 'lapsed' donor. The study found that while certain sectors of society were probably disproportionately represented among those who close to undertake voluntary social behaviours, the continuity of these actions could not be statistically associated with demographic or socio-economic variables. However, it did find that donors initially motivated by 'external' considerations such as convenience of location were more likely to lapse, while those for whom moral considerations and a sense of community were most important were more likely to continue as active donors. The general conclusion suggests that manipulating the context may be useful to broaden the initial participatory base in voluntary actions, but to produce continuity in this involvement the challenge must be phrased in moral language.
It has been unclear which human-attribute concepts are most universal across languages. To identify common-denominator concepts, we used dictionaries for 12 mutually isolated languages-Maasai, Supyire Senoufo, Khoekhoe, Afar, Mara Chin, Hmong, Wik-Mungkan, Enga, Fijian, Inuktitut, Hopi, and Kuna-representing diverse cultural characteristics and language families, from multiple continents. A composite list of every person-descriptive term in each lexicon was closely examined to determine the content (in terms of English translation) most ubiquitous across languages. Study 1 identified 28 single-word concepts used to describe persons in all 12 languages, as well as 41 additional terms found in 11 of 12. Results indicated that attribute concepts related to morality and competence appear to be as cross-culturally ubiquitous as basic-emotion concepts. Formulations of universal-attribute concepts from Osgood and Wierzbicka were well-supported. Study 2 compared lexically based personality models on the relative ubiquity of key associated terms, finding that 1- and 2-dimensional models draw on markedly more ubiquitous terms than do 5- or 6-factor models. We suggest that ubiquitous attributes reflect common cultural as well as common biological processes.