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When Gift-giving Produces Dissonance: Effects of Subliminal Affiliation Priming on Choices for One’s Self versus Close Others


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Past research on cognitive dissonance indicated that people from independent (e.g. European-American) and interdependent (e.g. East-Asian) cultural backgrounds show different patterns of choice justification: whereas choice made for oneself affirms the independent view of the self, choice made for close others affirms the interdependent view of the self. We hypothesized that interpersonal choice considerations may be temporally accessible even among habitually independent European-Americans. The present research provides the first experimental evidence that choice justification varies as a function of both subliminal affiliation priming and the target of choice (self vs. close others). Results from three studies indicate that subliminal priming of affiliation increases justification of a choice European-Americans made for a close other, while decreasing justification of a choice made for the self. Implications for theories related to cognitive dissonance, subliminal processing and cultural meaning systems are discussed.
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When gift-giving produces dissonance: Effects of subliminal afliation priming on
choices for one's self versus close others
Sasha Y. Kimel
, Igor Grossmann
, Shinobu Kitayama
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
University of Waterloo, Canada
abstractarticle info
Article history:
Received 14 December 2011
Revised 19 April 2012
Available online 23 May 2012
Cognitive dissonance
Choice justication
Subliminal afliation priming
Social orientation
Past research on cognitive dissonance indicated that people from independent (e.g. European-American) and
interdependent (e.g. East-Asian) cultural backgrounds show different patterns of choice justication: where-
as choice made for oneself afrms the independent view of the self, choice made for close others afrms the
interdependent view of the self. We hypothesized that interpersonal choice considerations may be temporal-
ly accessible even among habitually independent European-Americans. The present research provides the
rst experimental evidence that choice justication varies as a function of both subliminal afliation priming
and the target of choice (self vs. close others). Results from three studies indicate that subliminal priming of
afliation increases justication of a choice European-Americans made for a close other, while decreasing
justication of a choice made for the self. Implications for theories related to cognitive dissonance, subliminal
processing and cultural meaning systems are discussed.
© 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Behavioral scientists have studied the psychological processes in-
volved in decision-making and choice justication for over 50 years
(Brehm, 2007). In his classic experiment, Brehm (1956) asked partici-
pants to choose between two similarly attractive items and found that
participants increased their liking for the chosen item while decreasing
their liking for the rejected item. Subsequent studies have suggested
that such choices can threaten one's image of the self as competent
and thus, evoke cognitive dissonance. To reduce this dissonance, par-
ticipants justify their choice by liking the chosen item more and the
rejected item less (Aronson, 1968; Festinger, 1957; Steele & Liu, 1983;
Steele, Spencer, & Lynch, 1993).
Despite cognitive dissonance being a staple in social psychology, it has
recently been found to vary greatly across cultures (Heine & Lehman,
1997; Hoshino-Browne et al., 2005; Imada & Kitayama, 2010; Kitayama,
Snibbe, Markus, & Suzuki, 2004). These variations have been explained
by different degrees of an orientation towards interdependence and so-
cial harmony (Kitayama & Uchida, 2005)amongpeoplefromEast-
Asian and Western cultural backgrounds (e.g. Heine & Norenzayan,
2006; Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Oishi & Diener, 2001; Triandis, 1989).
In East-Asian cultures, there is a greater emphasis on maintaining
harmonious social interactions and tting-in (Morling & Evered, 2006).
As a consequence, worry about making a potentially inconsiderate choice
may result in choice justication when making a decision for close-
others. In contrast, in Western cultures, there is a greater emphasis on
self-expression, autonomy and being unique. Thus, worry about making
choice justication when making a decision for one's self (Kitayama et
al., 2004). Consistent with this reasoning, Hoshino-Browne et al. (2005)
found that European-Canadians justify choices they make for themselves,
but not ones they make for their friends. In contrast, Asian-Canadians jus-
tify choices they make for their friends, but not ones they make for them-
selves. However, there is an important gap in this literature: it is possible
that socioecological factors unrelatedtosocialorientation(e.g.language,
geography) have contributed to different choice justication patterns
across cultures (Oishi & Graham, 2010). Indeed, experimental evidence
linking different patterns of choice justication with psychological ten-
dencies representing social orientation (e.g. afliation; Markus &
Kitayama, 1991)hasbeenmissing.
In order to address this limitation, we drew from social cognition re-
search on conceptual and motivational priming (Bargh & Chartrand,
2000; Bargh, Gollwitzer, Lee-Chai, Barndollar, & Trotschel, 2001; Higgins,
1996; Srull & Wyer, 1979). By taking people from the same socio-
ecological background and presenting them with subtle cues associated
with an interdependent mind-set (e.g. Brewer & Gardner, 1996;
Tramow, Triandis, & Goto, 1991), one can examine its effects on choice
justication experimentally. Indeed, evidence is growing that even
though European-Americans are habitually more independent (or less
interdependent), priming them with interdependent concepts explicitly,
temporally promotes interdependent behaviors (for review, see
Oyserman & Lee, 2008).
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48 (2012) 12211224
Correspondence to: S.Y. Kimel, University of Michigan, Psychology Department,
530 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 481091109, USA. Fax: + 1 734 647 9440.
⁎⁎ Correspondence to: I. Grossmann,University of Waterloo,Department of Psychology,
200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1.Fax: +1 519 746 8631.
E-mail addresses: (S.Y. Kimel),
(I. Grossmann).
The rst two authors contributed equally to this research.
0022-1031/$ see front matter © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
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Building on this work, we examined howchoice justication is mod-
erated by both an interdependent social orientation and the target of
choice (self vs.close others). To activate an interdependent social orien-
tation, we used a subliminal procedure for priming afliation. Bargh and
colleagues have demonstrated that when European-Americans are sub-
liminally exposed to words linked to afliation and interdependence
(vs. neutral words), they subsequently mimicked interaction partners
more (Lakin & Chartrand, 2003) and were more cooperative (Bargh et
al., 2001; see Chartrand, Maddux, & Lakin, 2005, for review). This proce-
dure is not only powerful but it also reduces possible demand effects
(Bargh & Chartrand, 2000).
Here, we report three studies. In Study 1, we subliminally primed
European-Americans with afliation (vs. neutral) words to examine
whether this would decrease choice justication after making a choice
for oneself. In Study 2, we sought to replicate the results from Study 1
using different choice-items while examining whether European-
Americans primed with afliation would display more choice justica-
tion when spontaneously making a choice for themselves (vs. a close-
other). Finally, in Study 3 we examined priming effects for participants
who were explicitly instructed to make a choice for a close-other and
not for themselves.
Study 1
In Study 1, we examined our prediction that subliminally priming
European-Americans with afliation (vs. neutral) cues would result
in less choice justication when making a choice for themselves.
46 European-Americans (14 males, 32 females; M
=1.35) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor were recruited
to participate in a music surveyin exchange for $8.
Procedure and stimuli
Upon arrival for the alleged music survey,participants were unex-
pectedly asked to participate in another unrelated study on visual acu-
ityfor an additional $2. All participants agreed to do so. Following the
procedure used by Lakin and Chartrand (2003), participants were
instructed to quicklyand accurately respond to brief ashes on different
sides of a 15 min screen using keys labeled left/right. After six prac-
tice trials, participants were randomly assigned to the: a) Afliation-
prime or b) Neutral-prime condition. In the afliation condition, partic-
ipants were cued with the words afliate,friend,partner,together.In
total, 80 trials were presented, with the four words each appearing 20
times in a random order. In the neutral condition, participants were
cued with the words neutral and background 40 times in a random
order over 80 trials. The words were presented for 62 ms, followed by
XQFBZRMQWGBXfor another 62 ms.
Next, participants completed the standard free-choice dissonance
paradigm (Brehm, 1956; Steele et al., 1993) which was disguised as a
music marketing survey sponsored by a CD company. Our procedure
was closely modeled after previous studies by Kitayama et al. (2004).
First, participantsviewed a binder of30 popular CDs that had been pre-
tested to reect college students' preferences and selected 10 that they
would like to have but did not already own. They then ranked them by
preference. Next, during an alleged music survey, the experimenter
interrupted participants to say that the company was offering them
free CD but that there were only two left in stock, from which they
could pickone to keep. In each case, the two CDs were the ones that par-
ticipants had rank-ordered as their fth and sixth favorites. After addi-
tional ller tasks, participants were told that the company was
interested in music preferences when customers leave a store and
thus, when CDs are no longer visually present. Participants ranked the
10 CDs again according to their preferences at that very moment.
Finally, they completed demographics and were probed for generalsus-
picion as well as awareness of the primes using the recommended fun-
nel interview procedure (Bargh & Chartrand, 2000). Using this method,
participants only mentioned random letters or non-English words and
not the actual primes. According to Bargh and colleagues, this suggests
that the primes were indeed subliminal (Bargh & Chartrand, 2000;
Chartrand & Bargh, 1996).
In line with previous work (Hoshino-Browne et al., 2005; Steele et
al., 1993), we dened degree of choice justication or the spread of
alternatives(SA) for each participant in terms of the increase in lik-
ing of chosen CD plus the decrease in liking of rejected CD. Consistent
with other researchers, ranking was used as the measure of liking
(e.g. Kitayama et al., 2004; Lee & Schwarz, 2010).
Consistent with our predictions and with previous research, par-
ticipants in the neutral condition showed a choice justication effect
signicantly greater than zero (M= 1.78, SD= 2.10, t(26) =4.40,
pb.001). Importantly, this was not the case in the afliation condition
(M=.42, SD= 1.98, t(18)b1, ns). The results of an ANOVA indicated a
signicant difference between the two conditions, F(1,44) =4.87,
p=.03, η
=.1. We found no gender effects (Fsb1, ns).
Study 2
The aim of Study 2 was to conceptually replicate the ndings in
Study 1 using different choice-items. Further, we examined the effects
of afliation priming when participants spontaneously made a choice
for themselves versus for close-others. This quasi-experimental method
was used in order to observe naturally occurring choice behaviors. We
predicted less choice justication in the afliation (vs. neutral) condi-
tion for those who made a choice for the self and more choice justica-
tion in the afliation (vs. neutral) condition for those who made a
choice for a close-other.
79 European-American undergraduates (33 males, 46 females;
=19.72, SD
=1.61) at the University of Michigan were rec-
ruited to participate in a toy and game surveyin exchange for $8.
Procedure and materials
We used a conceptually similar procedure to Study 1 with two
modications. First, we adopted toys as choice-items (see Fig. 1 for
examples) to increase the likelihood of spontaneous choice for friends
since toys are often purchased as gifts. Second, we determined if par-
ticipants had spontaneously made the choice for themselves or for
signicant others by having them indicate if they planned to give
the toy as a gift to someone else.
One third of the participants chose the toy for themselves (n= 28)
and the other two-thirds chose it for a close-other (n= 51). Thus, our
attempt to increase the likelihood of choice for friend by adopting
toys as choice options was successful. Preliminary analyses indicated
no gender effect (Fb1, ns) or gender-related interactions (Fsb2, ns).
A2(afliation vs. neutral)×2 (selfchoice vs. other-choice) ANOVA
with SA as the dependent variable showed a signicant interaction
between condition and type of choice, F(1,75)=5.33, p=.02, η
Consistent with Study 1, participants who reported making a self-
choice showed greater choice justication in the neutral (M=3.75,
SD=2.37) versus afliation condition (M=1.93, SD =2.20, F(1,26)=
4.33, pb.05, η
=.14). However, other-choice participants showed a
1222 S.Y. Kimel et al. / Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48 (2012) 12211224
reversed trend, with more SA in the afliation condition (M=2.45,
SD=2.7 8) than in the neutral condition (M= 1.35, SD =2.73;
F(1,49) = 1.82, ns). Further, and consistent with previous research
(Hoshino-Browne et al., 2005), in the neutral condition self-choice
participants showed substantially greater choice justication than
other-choice participants (Ms= 3.75 vs. 1.35, F(1,37)= 6.42, p=.02,
=.15). Although the trend was reversed in the afliation condition,
the effect was statistically trivial (Ms= 1.93 vs. 2.45), Fb1.
Because Study 2 was a quasi-experiment in which participants retro-
spectively reported whom they had made the choice for, there are ambi-
guities in the interpretation. Although participants might subsequently
report that they had made the choice for their friend, they may have ac-
tually made the choice for themselves. This may explain, in part, why we
failed to obtain strong evidence for the prediction that those making a
choice for a close-others would show greater justication in the aflia-
tion (vs. neural) condition. Study 3 was conducted to address this.
Study 3
In Study 3, we explicitly instructed participants to make a choice for
a close-other. We predicted that European-Americans who made a
choice for someone else would show greater choice justication in the
afliation (vs. neutral) condition.
77 European-American undergraduates (35 males, 32 females;
=19.36, SD
=1.53) at the University of Michigan participated
in exchange for $8.
Procedure and materials
Participants were asked to make a choice for a close-other. Follow-
ing previous research (Hoshino-Browne et al., 2005), participants
chose a close-person (e.g. cousin, siblings) that they would want to
give a toy to and then ranked the toys according to this person's as-
sumed preferences. Participants were then told that the survey spon-
sor was providing one toy to give as a gift and that the chosen one
would be mailed to their close-person.
Consistent with the results from Study 2, participants in the afliation
condition (M=2.21,SD =2.11)showed a substantiallygreaterjustica-
tion effect than those in the neutral condition (M=1.15, SD=2.27)
when explicitly choosing for a close-friend, F(1,66)=20.13, pb.05,
=.06. We found no gender effects or gender-related interactions
(Fsb1, ns).
In the present studies, we found support for our hypothesis that af-
liation orientation inuences choice justication. When European-
Americans were primed with afliation, they justied choices made
for themselves less (Studies 12) than choices made for their friends
(Studies 23). This pattern is analogous with that typically found
among more interdependently-oriented East-Asians. By manipulating
social orientation directly, we provide the rst experimental evidence
for what cultural psychologists have proposed but have not yet tested.
The present research provides a direct demonstration of how subtle
social cues can moderate choice justication by showing that
dissonance-related behaviors can be either increased or decreased
among European-Americans depending on the target of the choice (e.g.
self or other). Further, it contributes to a recent debate on the reality
of cognitive dissonance in the free-choice paradigm. Some researchers
have suggested that dissonance may be based on methodological arti-
facts such as non-random selection of chosen vs. rejected items and cul-
tural differences in preferences for consistency (Chen & Risen, 2010).
However, this argument cannot explain why afliation versus neutral
priming increased close-other related choice rationalization among
European-Americans. Instead, our ndings suggest that important psy-
chological mechanisms are in fact at play.
We have hypothesized that when making a choice for the self, people
justify it in order to reduce concerns about their own competence. Our
results suggest that priming an interdependent social orientation re-
duces the salience of this concern. Indeed, previous research suggests
that in individualistic cultures, greater interdependence is negatively re-
lated to pursuit of self-centered rewards (Kitayama & Park, 2012) and
that reminders of values beyond one's immediate self (e.g. social life) al-
lows one to transcend egocentric concerns (Crocker, Niiya, &
Mischkowski, 2008). Future work should examine in further detail why
interdependent motivations produce these choice justication effects.
Our ndings broaden the priming literature in two important
ways. First, we found that subliminal cueing of interdependence
via afliation words leads not only to interdependent behaviors
(e.g. mimicry, cooperation; Bargh et al., 2001; Lakin & Chartrand,
2003) but also to changes in such complex processes as those in-
volved in choice justication. Second, we provide initial evidence
that social orientation can be activated using a subtle subliminal
procedure. Future work should explore whether subliminal priming
of independence-related concepts (e.g. competition; Weyers,
Mühlberger, Kund, Hess, & Pauli, 2009) would lead to comparable
shifts in choice rationalization among East-Asians.
One important limitation of the present work is that, although the
participants across our three studies were reasonably comparable,
some of our studies involved different choice items while one made
use of a quasi-experimental design. Therefore, future work would
benet from concurrent manipulation of both afliation orientation
and the recipient of choice (e.g. self and other). Further, the eld is
still uncertain about how subliminal afliation priming works. For in-
stance, it might be due to semantic concept accessibility or, instead, to
direct changes in afliation motivation (Custers, 2010; Higgins,
1996). Future work should address this question.
To conclude, we wish to emphasize that European-Americans are
capable of behaviors reecting interpersonal considerations. Thus, one
could argue that the portrait of European-Americans as independent
and self-centered is somewhat exaggerated. Nevertheless, it is striking
that other-oriented behaviors became evident only when individuals
were primed with afliation. This suggests that,in independent cultural
contexts, these behaviors may be seen as discretionary. We believe that
this should be considered during social engineering efforts to improve
the pro-sociality of public service professionals (e.g. doctors,educators).
Fig. 1. Example toys for Study 2.
1223S.Y. Kimel et al. / Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48 (2012) 12211224
This research was supported by the International Max Plank Re-
search LIFE Fellowship, and by the University of Michigan Rackham
Predoctoral Fellowship both awarded to Igor Grossmann and NSF
grant 2007:BCS 0717982 awarded to Shinobu Kitayama. The views
presented here are not necessarily those of NSF.
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... Indeed, it often is implicit. The prior work has found that one reliable method to induce relational goals is through priming the goals unconsciously with the subliminal presentation of relational words, such as 'together' and 'friend' (Bargh and Chartrand, 1999;Lakin and Chartrand, 2003;Kimel et al., 2012). In one early study, Lakin and Chartrand (2003) found that after subliminal relational priming, individuals imitated their interaction partners more. ...
... This priming also increased cooperative behavior (Bargh et al., 2001;Chartrand et al., 2006). Moreover, a subsequent study showed that after this priming, Americans experienced dissonance for a choice they made for their friends even though they typically do not (Kimel et al., 2012). This subliminal priming procedure has proven reliable, does not require conscious deliberation, and therefore minimizes demand effects that could be present with explicit goal priming. ...
... After providing informed consent, participants were set up for EEG recording. They then completed a locator task, which was used to subliminally induce relational goals (Bargh and Chartrand, 1999;Lakin and Chartrand, 2003;Kimel et al., 2012). Participants were told that they would see a flash on the computer display and asked to report the location (left or right) of the flash using the arrow keys on the keyboard. ...
Full-text available
One fundamental function of social norms is to promote social coordination. Moreover, greater social coordination may be called for when tight norms govern social relations with others. Hence, the sensitivity to social norm violations may be jointly modulated by relational goals and a belief that the social context is tight (vs. loose). We tested this analysis using an electrocortical marker of norm-violation detection (N400). Ninety-one young American adults were subliminally primed with either relational or neutral goals. They were then shown behaviors that were either norm-violating or normal. In the relational priming condition, the norm violation N400 increased as a function of the perceived tightness of societal norms. In the control priming condition, however, the norm violation N400 was weak regardless of perceived tightness. Thus, normative tightness was associated with increased neural processing of norm violations only when relational goals were activated. Implications for norm psychology are discussed. (Word Count: 148).
... Additionally, people in collectivist cultures tend to treat in-group and out-group members more differently than do those in individualistic cultures (Hsee and Weber, 1999). People from interdependent cultural backgrounds worry more about making a potentially inconsiderate choice for close others rather than themselves and tend to justify their choices for close others as a result; however, the opposite is true for people from independent cultural backgrounds Relational norms influence gift choices (Kimel et al., 2012). This assertion supports self-construal as another possible moderator that influences the effect of relational norms on gift choice, which remains to be explored. ...
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Purpose Relational norms, referring to shared values about behavioral rules, distinguish communal and exchange relationships based on different reciprocal expectations between actors. This research explains how reciprocal expectations behind the two relationships trigger gift givers' disparate behavioral goals and further determine their gift choices. Design/methodology/approach The current work uses three lab experiments ( N = 482) and one consumer survey ( N = 422) to collect Chinese gifting data. Multiple data-analysis methods – crosstab analysis, ANOVA, linear regression and bootstrapping procedures – confirm the hypotheses. Findings Gift givers distinguish communal and exchange recipients. When selecting gifts for communal (exchange) recipients, people depended more strongly on rational analyses (intuition), preferring products superior on cognitive (affective) attributions. Further, givers primed to be rational decision-makers by anticipating that recipients would evaluate the gifts immediately in their presence, regardless of the communal or exchange context, preferred cognitively superior products. Practical implications From a managerial perspective, marketers can make targeted recommendations by highlighting the appropriate attribute dimension (cognitive or affective) after learning givers' reciprocal expectations. Originality/value This work contributes to the gift-giving literature by revealing the direct link between gifting goals and gift choices, extending the understanding of consumers' gift-selection strategies.
... However, when omitting the participants who chose Paris in both rounds of the Equivoque (KK event sequence, who are therefore highly likely to have a pre-existing preference for it), the correlation disappears (rs =.319, p = .105). These results suggest that the induced choice preference effect might be smaller than what is reported in the literature (Coppin et al., 2010;Coppin, Delplanque, Porcherot, Cayeux, & Sander, 2012;Harmon-Jones & Harmon-Jones, 2002;Imada & Kitayama, 2010;Kimel, Grossmann, & Kitayama, 2012;Lee & Schwarz, 2010;Sharot et al., 2009;Sharot, Shiner, & Dolan, 2010), or based on methodological limitations allowing for preexisting preferences to guide participants' choices. Indeed, some authors already pointed out 32 that free-choice paradigms used to investigate preference change rather created an artificial spreading of alternatives than a true reflection of preference change . ...
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Forcing techniques allow magicians to subtly influence spectators’ choices and the outcome of their actions, and they provide powerful tools to study decision-making and the illusory sense of agency and freedom over choices we make. We investigated the equivoque force, a technique that exploits semantic ambiguities and people’s failure to notice inconsistencies, to ensure that a spectator ends up with a predetermined outcome. Similar to choice blindness paradigms, the equivoque forces participants to end up with an item they did not choose in the first place. However, here, the subterfuge is accomplished in full view. In 3 experiments, we showed that the equivoque is highly effective in providing participants an illusory sense of agency over the outcome of their actions, even after 2 repetitions of the trick (Experiment 2) and using items for which preexisting preferences can be present (Experiment 3). Across all experiments, participants were oblivious to inconsistencies in the procedure used to guide their decisions, and they were genuinely surprised by the experimenter’s matching prediction. Contrary to our prediction, the equivoque force did not significantly change participants’ preference for the chosen item. We discuss the results with regard to other illusions of agency (e.g., forcing, choice blindness), failures in noticing semantic inconsistencies (e.g., Moses illusion), and issues surrounding choice-induced-preference literature. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
... In one study, Lakin and Chartrand (2003) found that after subliminal relational priming, individuals imitated their interaction partners more and increased cooperative behavior (Bargh et al., 2001;Chartrand et al., 2005). Moreover, Kimel et al. (2012) reported that after such priming, Americans experienced dissonance for a choice they had made for their friends (Kimel et al., 2017). ...
In this introductory chapter, we outline some conceptual building blocks for an ecosocial view of the co-construction of mind, brain, and culture. The brain is the organ of culture; mind and experience are processes located in loops of active engagement of brain and body with the social world. This engagement occurs on multiple time scales, from evolution and co-evolutionary adaptation to humanly designed niches, through the cultural history of populations and communities, to individual developmental trajectories, narratives of the self, and moment-to-moment engagements with social contexts. We are born biologically equipped to acquire culture and, across our lifespan, we become attuned to particular social and cultural environments. The niches we inhabit are cooperatively constructed and presented to us as cultural affordances that enable our cognitive capacities, sense of self, adaptive skills, and meaning-making capacity. The rewiring of brain circuits, synaptic plasticity, and underlying changes in gene regulation only make sense in relation to the particular resources, affordances, and adaptive tasks presented to us by specific cultural environments. Answering the question of what makes us human then turns out to involve not just an evolutionary story in deep time, but also cultural and individual stories in historical, developmental, and biographical time.
... The original paper describing the methodological flaw was made available to the public as a working paper in 2008 and attracted the attention of researchers (see Chen and Risen, 2009;Sagarin and Skowronski, 2009a,b). However, despite the fact that their critique could potentially undermine the conclusions of any study that uses the paradigm, behavioral, and neuroimaging studies using the paradigm continue to be published without addressing the critique (Sharot et al., 2009(Sharot et al., , 2010aCoppin et al., 2010Coppin et al., , 2012Imada and Kitayama, 2010;Lee and Schwarz, 2010;West et al., 2010;Harmon-Jones et al., 2011;Jarcho et al., 2011;Qin et al., 2011;Kimel et al., 2012;Kitayama et al., 2013). Furthermore, although some researchers have already provided evidence for the existence of choice-included preference change using new paradigms or modifications of the free-choice paradigm, some of them are not sufficiently compelling, as detailed later. ...
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Choices not only reflect our preference, but they also affect our behavior. The phenomenon of choice-induced preference change has been of interest to cognitive dissonance researchers in social psychology, and more recently, it has attracted the attention of researchers in economics and neuroscience. Preference modulation after the mere act of making a choice has been repeatedly demonstrated over the last 50 years by an experimental paradigm called the "free-choice paradigm." However, Chen and Risen (2010) pointed out a serious methodological flaw in this paradigm, arguing that evidence for choice-induced preference change is still insufficient. Despite the flaw, studies using the traditional free-choice paradigm continue to be published without addressing the criticism. Here, aiming to draw more attention to this issue, we briefly explain the methodological problem, and then describe simple simulation studies that illustrate how the free-choice paradigm produces a systematic pattern of preference change consistent with cognitive dissonance, even without any change in true preference. Our stimulation also shows how a different level of noise in each phase of the free-choice paradigm independently contributes to the magnitude of artificial preference change. Furthermore, we review ways of addressing the critique and provide a meta-analysis to show the effect size of choice-induced preference change after addressing the critique. Finally, we review and discuss, based on the results of the stimulation studies, how the criticism affects our interpretation of past findings generated from the free-choice paradigm. We conclude that the use of the conventional free-choice paradigm should be avoided in future research and the validity of past findings from studies using this paradigm should be empirically re-established.
... Stressful circumstances of daily life can make people egocentric (e.g., Wegner & Giuliano, 1980). Excessive self-focus prevents one from seeing the "big picture" of a situation (Grossmann & Jowhari, 2017) and can lead to biases in decision-making (e.g., Kimel, Grossmann, & Kitayama, 2012). It is possible to combat egocentrism common to stressful events by adopting an ego-decentered or a "fly on the wall" perspective on personal issues (Kross & Ayduk, 2011). ...
Some folk beliefs characterize wisdom as an essence – a set of immutable characteristics, developing as a consequence of an innate potential and extraordinary life experiences. Emerging empirical scholarship involving experiments, diary and cross-cultural studies contradicts such folk beliefs. Characteristics of wise thinking, which include intellectual humility, recognition of uncertainty and change, consideration of different perspectives and integration of these perspectives, is highly variable across situations. Cumulatively, empirical research suggests that variability in wise thinking is systematic, with greater wisdom in ecological and experimentally-induced contexts promoting an ego-decentered (vs. egocentric) viewpoint. Moreover, teaching for wisdom benefits from appreciation of context-dependency of intentions and actions depicted in the narratives of wisdom exemplars’ lives. I conclude by advancing a constructivist model of wisdom, suggesting that cultural-historical, personal-motivational, and situational contexts play a critical role for wisdom, its development and its application in daily life.
... For instance, individuals in individualist cultures tend to justify their personal choices by reporting liking the chosen option more, even though they don't show such tendency when choosing for others. In contrast, individuals in collectivist cultures tend to justify choices make for others, but not necessarily own choices (Hoshino-Browne et al. 2005;Kimel et al. 2012). ...
The notion of individualism plays a central role for various domains of economics and moral and political philosophy, including liberalism, existentialism, and anarchism, among others. Individualism has also been the center of different lines of research in social sciences, including the exploration of dimensions defining cultural differences as well as the study of cohort effects (e.g., the individualistic focus of “hipsters,” “millennials,” or “baby boomers”). The present overview discusses how individualism informs individual psychology, along with the social, cognitive, and emotional processes impacting personal attitudes, values, and behavior. We also touch on how individualism has been changing over time and the macro-social factors contributing toward such changes.
Social group memberships are primarily studied in quasi-experimental contexts, but how can culture, class and gender be manipulated in true experimental designs? This review highlights the different empirical strategies that can be used to manipulate “culture” as it relates to race/ethnicity (activation of thinking styles, language, and priming of cultural constructs), class (social standing, group status, or perceived social status), and gender (role salience, gender identity, sex hormone administration). I review measurement issues related to manipulation checks and the problem of what construct is tapped by the manipulation, appropriate control groups, and intersectional identities or group memberships.
This research explores the effect of gift–image congruence on the recipient's gift appreciation, and the moderating effects of intimacy and the recipient's relationship dependence in romantic relationships. The results show that gift-recipient image congruence has a positive effect on the recipient's gift appreciation, while the effect of gift-giver image congruence on gift appreciation is insignificant or even negative in Chinese and non-Chinese samples. For both Chinese and non-Chinese samples, the intimacy and relationship dependence of recipients attenuate the negative effect of gift-giver image congruence and the positive effect of gift-recipient image congruence on the recipient's gift appreciation. This research advances our understanding of what gifts and under what circumstances gifts are appreciated by recipients. Theoretical contributions to the gift-giving literature and practical implications are discussed.
Introduction Open any introductory marketing textbook and you will learn that the role of the firm is to create, communicate, and deliver value to the consumer who, in turn, takes the passive role of paying and consuming. For many years, this was, in fact, how marketers, consumer researchers, and psychologists perceived these two roles; the notion of consumer input into value creation was almost entirely neglected.This began to change when researchers in the area of innovation identified product users modifying and innovating on their own. In fact, von Hippel, De Jong, and Flowers (2012) found that in a representative sample of UK consumers, more than 6 percent had engaged in product modification or innovation during the prior three years, resulting in annual product development expenditures 1.4 times larger than the respective research and development (R&D) expenditures of all UK firms. More broadly, what emerged was the concept of “democratizing innovation,” that getting users actively involved in the process of new product development (NPD) can be a great source of value to the consumer and, thus, the firm (von Hippel, 2005). Today, consumer input is a recognized force in new product development, so much so that the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) listed it as one of its top priorities for exploration for 2008 through 2010.A parallel development in the marketplace has been that firms are going after smaller and more well-defined segments (Dalgic & Leeuw, 1994; Kotler & Armstrong, 2013). This is due to a number of factors, including the abundance of brands competing in many sectors; the rapid growth in media outlets, particularly online; and the increasing amount of information available on individual consumers. The result is that, in both media (Nelson-Field & Riebe, 2011) and products (Dalgic, 2006), the use of niche marketing is on the rise, while mass marketing is becoming an increasingly less viable option, particularly for new products.These two developments, consumer involvement in design as well as smaller target markets, have resulted in the practice of self-customization, where instead of offering ready-made products, the firm equips consumers with the tools to customize and design their own product. This can be viewed as the ultimate form of niche marketing, where the resulting segments consist of individuals.
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This article presents a socioecological approach (accounting for physical, societal, and interpersonal environments) to psychological theorizing and research. First, we demonstrate that economic systems, political systems, religious systems, climates, and geography exert a distal yet important influence on human mind and behavior. Second, we summarize the historical precedents of socioecological psychology. There have been several waves of ecological movements with distinct emphases in the history of psychological science, such as K. Lewin's (1936, 1939) field theory and U. Bronfenbrenner's (1977) ecological approach to human development. Environmental and community psychologies, created in the late 1960s and early 1970s, promoted social activism through basic and applied research on ecological factors and social outcomes. Most recently, the rise of cultural psychology has encouraged psychologists to pay attention to cultural factors in basic psychological processes, but note that less attention has been given to socioecological factors per se. We highlight the benefits of bringing the socioecological perspective back to mainstream psychological theorizing and research. © The Author(s) 2010.
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To secure the interest of the personal self (vs. social others) is considered a fundamental human motive, but the nature of the motivation to secure the self-interest is not well understood. To address this issue, we assessed electrocortical responses of European Americans and Asians as they performed a flanker task while instructed to earn as many reward points as possible either for the self or for their same-sex friend. For European Americans, error-related negativity (ERN)-an event-related-potential component contingent on error responses-was significantly greater in the self condition than in the friend condition. Moreover, post-error slowing-an index of cognitive control to reduce errors-was observed in the self condition but not in the friend condition. Neither of these self-centric effects was observed among Asians, consistent with prior cross-cultural behavioral evidence. Interdependent self-construal mediated the effect of culture on the ERN self-centric effect. Our findings provide the first evidence for a neural correlate of self-centric motivation, which becomes more salient outside of interdependent social relations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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On the bases of A. G. Greenwald and A. R. Pratkanis's (1984) distinction between private and collective aspects of the self and on H. C. Triandis's (see record 1989-36454-001) theory about individualistic and collectivistic cultures, 2 competing theories concerning the organization of self-cognitions were proposed. Findings from 2 experiments supported the notion that private and collective self-cognitions are stored in separate locations in memory. First, Ss from individualistic cultures retrieved more cognitions about the private self, and fewer about the collective self, than Ss from collectivistic cultures. Second, priming a particular aspect of the self increased the retrieval of self-cognitions pertaining to that aspect of the self. Finally, the probability of retrieving a self-cognition was greater if the same type of self-cognition had been previously retrieved than if a different type had been previously retrieved. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Three aspects of the self (private, public, collective) with different probabilities in different kinds of social environments were sampled. Three dimensions of cultural variation (individualism-collectivism, tightness-looseness, cultural complexity) are discussed in relation to the sampling of these three aspects of the self. The more complex the culture, the more frequent the sampling of the public and private self and the less frequent the sampling of the collective self. The more individualistic the culture, the more frequent the sampling of the private self and the less frequent the sampling of the collective self. Collectivism, external threat, competition with outgroups, and common fate increase the sampling of the collective self. Cultural homogeneity results in tightness and in the sampling of the collective self. The article outlines theoretical links among aspects of the environment, child-rearing patterns, and cultural patterns, which are linked to differential sampling of aspects of the self. Such sampling has implications for social behavior. Empirical investigations of some of these links are reviewed.
Within the framework of self-affirmation theory, the authors compared levels of dissonance reduction in the free-choice paradigm between a culture typical of an independent construal of self (Canadian) and a culture typical of an interdependent construal of self (Japanese). Whereas Canadian results virtually duplicated past self-affirmation findings with U.S. participants, Japanese results showed no dissonance reduction. This, the authors argue, is because such situations do not threaten core aspects of the interdependent self:
Perception and behavior are inextricably intertwined such that people automatically behave as they perceive. This "perception-behavior link" refers to the unintentional, nonconscious effects of social perception on social behavior. The perception of observables may activate specific behavioral representations, trait constructs, or stereotypes. Mimicry is a manifestation of the perception-behavior link at its most fundamental level. It is no more than copying another's observables and requires only the ability to perceive the behavior in the other person and the ability to form the behavior oneself. There is now considerable empirical evidence that people mimic a variety of observables, including speech, facial expressions, physical mannerisms, moods,and emotions. This chapter focuses on automatic imitation, which appears to be a result of the perception-behavior link. After reviewing the evidence for nonconscious mimicry, it explores the origins and utility of behavioral mimicry and argues that it serves a "social survival" function today. This chapter concludes that nonconscious mimicry may be an unidentified strategy in the repertoire of behaviors that help people get along with others.
Humans are a cultural species, and the study of human psychology benefits from attention to cultural influences. Cultural psychology's contributions to psychological science can largely be divided according to the two different stages of scientific inquiry. Stage 1 research seeks cultural differences and establishes the boundaries of psychological phenomena. Stage 2 research seeks underlying mechanisms of those cultural differences. The literatures regarding these two distinct stages are reviewed, and various methods for conducting Stage 2 research are discussed. The implications of culture-blind and multicultural psychologies for society and intergroup relations are also discussed. © 2006 Association for Psychological Science.
Three aspects of the self (private, public, collective) with different probabilities in different kinds of social environments were sampled. Three dimensions of cultural variation (individualism–collectivism, tightness–looseness, cultural complexity) are discussed in relation to the sampling of these three aspects of the self. The more complex the culture, the more frequent the sampling of the public and private self and the less frequent the sampling of the collective self. The more individualistic the culture, the more frequent the sampling of the private self and the less frequent the sampling of the collective self. Collectivism, external threat, competition with outgroups, and common fate increase the sampling of the collective self. Cultural homogeneity results in tightness and in the sampling of the collective self. The article outlines theoretical links among aspects of the environment, child-rearing patterns, and cultural patterns, which are linked to differential sampling of aspects of the self. Such sampling has implications for social behavior. Empirical investigations of some of these links are reviewed.