In order to understand the concept of values, one must acknowledge and grasp the essence of culture. Culture is comprised of certain values, specific to a given society and the members within it. These values are known to be abstract ideas that reflect a set of cultural norms, languages spoken, or symbols used within everyday dialogue. For example, direct eye contact between individuals in American culture is considered polite, engaging, and respectful; whereas in Japan, indirect eye contact is preferred, as it is less intimidating and less threatening. Thus, values are varied across cultures and reflect the instilled set of norms with which society feeds off of. .
Furthermore, copying from one's paper, known as plagiarism, is frowned upon and considered cheating in the United States, as it is highly dishonest and disrespectful. However, students in Russia actually promote such a style of work, as it is viewed as helping each other in order to pass an exam or better understand the material at hand. As seen through these examples, values have the potential to conflict even within one society or community, but more generally across different cultures. The reason being, a certain group of individuals may gravitate toward a traditional set of beliefs while another group may favor modern, progressive beliefs. Hence, a divide begins to form between individuals of the human race due to such misunderstandings and the inability to relate to one another due to these value conflicts and cultural differences. .
Another example where some individuals prefer a simplistic lifestyle with no technology or modernized mentalities, while others desire extravagant, excessive material within their progressive lifestyles suggests this ever so dominant conflict of values within a given society. It becomes a matter of personal preference and the way an individual was raised within his or her own culture. In an age of modernity, science, and constant change, it is only normal that cultural values that are embedded into every day life naturally conflict.