ArticlePDF Available

Culture, Interpersonal Perceptions, and Happiness in Social Interactions

Authors:
Article

Culture, Interpersonal Perceptions, and Happiness in Social Interactions

Abstract and Figures

The authors examined cultural differences in interpersonal processes associated with happiness felt in social interactions. In a false feedback experiment (Study 1a), they found that European Americans felt happier when their interaction partner perceived their personal self accurately, whereas Asian Americans felt happier when their interaction partner perceived their collective self accurately. In Study 1b, the authors further demonstrated that the results from Study 1a were not because of cultural differences in desirability of the traits used in Study 1a. In Studies 2 and 3, they used a 2-week event sampling method and replicated Study 1. Unlike Asian Americans, African Americans were not significantly different from European Americans in the predictors of happiness in social interactions. Together, this research shows that interpersonal affirmation of important aspects of the self leads to happiness and that cultural differences are likely to emerge from the emphasis placed on different aspects of the self.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Culture, Interpersonal Perceptions, and Happiness in Social
Interactions
Shigehiro Oishi and Minkyung Koo
University of Virginia
Sharon Akimoto
Carleton College
Abstract
The authors examined cultural differences in interpersonal processes associated with happiness
felt in social interactions. In a false feedback experiment (Study 1a), they found that European
Americans felt happier when their interaction partner perceived their personal self accurately,
whereas Asian Americans felt happier when their interaction partner perceived their collective self
accurately. In Study 1b, the authors further demonstrated that the results from Study 1a were not
because of cultural differences in desirability of the traits used in Study 1a. In Studies 2 and 3,
they used a 2-week event sampling method and replicated Study 1. Unlike Asian Americans,
African Americans were not significantly different from European Americans in the predictors of
happiness in social interactions. Together, this research shows that interpersonal affirmation of
important aspects of the self leads to happiness and that cultural differences are likely to emerge
from the emphasis placed on different aspects of the self.
Keywords
culture; happiness; positive affect; self
Some social encounters leave one feeling pleasant, whereas others leave one feeling
unpleasant. What predicts the affective outcome of social interactions? We report three
studies that investigate this question in the context of culture and show that the predictors of
affective outcome of social interactions vary systematically across cultures, depending on
which aspects of the self are accurately perceived by an interaction partner.
AFFECT IN INTERPERSONAL CONTEXTS
Several theorists have proposed that affective outcomes of social interactions are predicted
by the degree to which an individual feels understood by the interaction partner (e.g., Reis,
Clark, & Holmes, 2004). This feeling, when it emerges as a result of the initial interaction, is
in turn likely to shape the quality of future interactions. The importance of feeling
understood is also widely recognized in the literature on psychotherapy, as a client who feels
misunderstood at the first session is unlikely to continue the client–therapist relationship
(Elliott & James, 1989). This suggests that the subjective feeling of being understood is an
important factor in predicting affective outcomes of social interactions and in the formation
of close relationships.
© 2008 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Shigehiro Oishi at Department of Psychology, University of Virginia,
P.O. Box 400400, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400; e-mail: soishi@virginia.edu..
NIH Public Access
Author Manuscript
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
Published in final edited form as:
Pers Soc Psychol Bull
. 2008 March ; 34(3): 307–320. doi:10.1177/0146167207311198.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
What causes the subjective feeling of being understood? In dating and marital relationship
contexts, Murray, Holmes, Bellavia, Griffin, and Dolderman (2002) found that perceived
similarity in personality and values was associated with a greater degree of felt
understanding by the romantic partner, which in turn predicted relationship satisfaction.
Aside from perceived similarity in personality and values, Reis and Patrick (1996) posited
that the partner's accurate perception of the target's central self-concepts has to be
communicated to the target for the target to feel understood. Reis et al. (2004) recently
extended the earlier models by arguing that responsiveness to the central aspects of the self
is critical to affective outcomes of social interactions. It is not surprising, then, that people
like their interaction partner when the partner accurately perceives important aspects of their
self-concepts (e.g., Chen, Chen, & Shaw, 2004; Swann, 1990).
CULTURE AND SELF
Cross-cultural research found that central aspects of self-concept vary across cultures (e.g.,
Kanagawa, Cross, & Markus, 2001; Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Triandis, 1989). For
example, Cousins (1989) found that 58% of Americans' top five sentence completions in the
20-statements test (“I am …”) were composed of personality traits such as honest, whereas
only 19% of Japanese's top five responses included personality traits. In addition, among
Americans, only 9% of the top five responses referenced social roles such as college student,
whereas among Japanese 27% of the top five responses mentioned social roles.
The literature on culture and the self suggests that the sources of interpersonal understanding
are different for individuals with different cultural backgrounds. Specifically, because
personal aspects of the self (e.g., personality traits and abilities) are known to be chronically
salient and important to European Americans, we predict that accurate recognition of the
personal self by an interaction partner should be the key to happiness in social interactions
among European Americans. In contrast, because the collective self (e.g., group
membership, role) is known to be chronically accessible to Asian Americans, we expect that
accurate recognition of the collective self by an interaction partner should be particularly
important to happiness in social interactions among this group. Analogous to these cultural
predictions, Oishi, Lun, and Sherman (2007) recently found that individuals who moved a
lot while growing up (movers) deemed the personal self more central than did those who did
not move (nonmovers), whereas nonmovers deemed the collective self more central than did
frequent movers. Furthermore, frequent movers felt happy when their interaction partner
perceived their personal self accurately, whereas non-movers felt happy when their
interaction partner perceived their collective self accurately. We conducted a laboratory
experiment and two event sampling studies that tested our cultural difference predictions in
the relationship between the type of self accurately perceived by an interaction partner and
the level of happiness experienced in that interaction.
THIS RESEARCH
In Study 1a, we experimentally manipulated the partner's accurate perception of participants'
personal and collective self and then measured how happy participants felt about the
interaction. This manipulation allowed us to infer a causal direction from the accurate
perception of the personal versus collective self to happiness. In Study 1b, we tested cross-
cultural equivalence of the personality traits used in the manipulation of Study 1a to
ascertain that the findings from Study 1a were not because of cultural differences in the
desirability of the personality traits used in the first study. Because laboratory experiments
typically boast high internal validity but lack ecological validity, we also conducted event
sampling studies (Studies 2 and 3) in which participants reported social interactions and
their affective reactions to those interactions in their natural, daily contexts. Thus, Studies 2
Oishi et al. Page 2
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
and 3 provide valuable insight into everyday interpersonal processes and affective
experiences while minimizing retrospective bias and memory bias, which are major
concerns in well-being and relationship research in general (Reis & Gable, 2000).
In Study 3 we also explored the interpersonal processes associated with happiness in social
interactions among African Americans as well as among European and Asian Americans.
Previous research showed that African Americans are more similar to European Americans
than to Asian Americans in their cultural orientation toward the self. For instance, African
Americans are known to endorse more individualistic values than do European Americans
(d = 0.31) and Asian Americans (d = 0.55) and endorse collectivistic values as much as
European Americans (d = 0.04), and less than Asian Americans (d = 0.35; Oyserman,
Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2002). African Americans also report having higher levels of global
self-esteem than do European Americans (d = 0.19) and Asian Americans (d = 0.49; Twenge
& Crocker, 2002). In addition, African Americans and European Americans often show self-
protective attribution patterns for negative experiences (Crocker & Major, 1989;
Zuckerman, 1979), whereas Asian Americans do not (Oishi, Wyer, & Colcombe, 2000). If
African Americans in Study 3 showed patterns of happiness in social interactions that were
more similar to European Americans than to Asian Americans, this would provide further
support for the cultural explanation of the difference between European Americans and
Asian Americans in Studies 1 and 2. If, on the other hand, African Americans showed
different patterns of happiness than did European Americans, then the difference between
Asian and European Americans found in Studies 1 and 2 cannot be attributed to cultural
factors. In short, the three-group comparison in Study 3 provides a more stringent test of the
cultural account of happiness felt in social interactions than a typical two-group comparison.
Our research is not the first attempt to investigate cultural differences in interpersonal
processes. A glimpse at the existing literature reveals work on everything from cultural
similarities and differences in the meaning of friendship (e.g., Adams & Plaut, 2003); the
accuracy of interpersonal perception and liking (e.g., Heine & Renshaw, 2002); social
support seeking (e.g., Taylor et al., 2004); and the frequency, duration, and intimacy of
social interactions (e.g., Wheeler, Reis, & Bond, 1989) to love and marriage (e.g., Levine,
Sato, Hashimoto, & Verma, 1995), interpersonal contexts and emotion (e.g., Mesquita &
Karasawa, 2002; Oishi, Diener, Scollon, & Biswas-Diener, 2004), and relationship harmony
and life satisfaction (Kwan, Bond, & Singelis, 1997). However, our research is unique in
several respects. First, building on the close relationship literature (e.g., Reis et al., 2004),
we examined the link between accurate perception of central aspects of the self and affect, a
critical process in the formation and maintenance of close relationships, for the first time in
a cross-cultural context. Second, this is the first research on cultural and interpersonal
processes (to our knowledge) that employs both experimental and event sampling methods.
Finally, our three-group comparison in Study 3 provides a more rigorous test than a typical
two-group comparison does for the cultural account of the differences between European
Americans' and Asian Americans' felt happiness in social interactions.
STUDY 1A: LABORATORY EXPERIMENT
Method
Participants—Participants were 71 students who identified themselves as European
American (29 male, 41 female, 1 did not specify sex) and 47 students who identified
themselves as Asian or Asian American (23 male, 22 female, 2 did not specify sex).
Participants were enrolled in an introductory psychology course at the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign.
Oishi et al. Page 3
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Materials and Procedure—Participants completed a three-phase experiment in pairs.
During the first phase, participants were seated in individual cubicles where they completed
a short survey that included a list of 10 traits. The ten traits listed were hardworking,
intelligent, fun-loving, friendly, stubborn, cooperative, relaxed, leader, emotional, and
rational. We chose 8 traits (the 10 aforementioned traits excluding leader and stubborn)
from Suh's (1999, Pilot Study 2) earlier work on spontaneous personality descriptions. These
are the traits most often spontaneously generated by American and Korean college students.
We added leader and stubborn to the list to include the independent or assertive dimension
that appears important for many American college students (Cantor, 1994). Participants
were first asked to choose two traits on the list that described them most accurately. Next,
participants listed their group affiliations that were important to them at the time (e.g., Psi
Chi, sorority) or that were important to them in high school (e.g., student council, baseball).
They then listed the city or town where they were born and the cities or towns in which they
grew up. They were asked to indicate whether the city or town in which they grew up was a
large city (e.g., Chicago), the suburb of a large city (e.g., Elmhurst), a medium-sized city
(e.g., Peoria), the suburb of a medium-sized city, or a rural town. Finally, they were asked to
indicate their declared or intended academic major.
During the second phase, participants were brought together in a larger room and instructed
to engage in a discussion task. Three discussion topics (illegal drug use, college dropouts,
career choice) were given to them, and they discussed each topic for about 3 to 5 minutes.
This task was intended to allow participants to express their intelligence, rationality,
emotionality, assertiveness, stubbornness, and so forth. Next, the participants completed a
basketball task, in which they took 20 free throws as a team. They were told that the team
that made the most baskets would win two movie tickets. This task was devised to allow
participants to express their fun-loving side, cooperativeness, and other such aspects of their
personality. The structure of these interaction tasks encouraged participants to express and
communicate who they are to the extent that this is possible in the restricted context of a
laboratory interaction.
After these two interaction tasks, participants were once again separated to individual
cubicles and began the third phase of the experiment. They were asked to use personality
traits to describe their interaction partner as well as to guess what groups the interaction
partner belonged to (e.g., debate team), her or his academic major (e.g., biology), and where
the partner grew up (e.g., in a large city). This impression sheet was then turned in to the
experimenter.
Once both participants had completed the impression sheet, each received another
impression sheet that had presumably been completed by the partner. In reality, a false
impression sheet was switched with the actual impression sheet before it was given to the
participants. Based on the assigned experimental condition and the self-descriptions
provided by the participants during the first phase of the experiment, the experimenter
created these false impression sheets while the participants were interacting with one
another. In the accurate personal self condition, synonyms replaced the personality traits
actually chosen by the participant on the partner's fake impression sheet (e.g., laid-back
replaced relaxed). In the inaccurate personal self condition, traits that were qualitatively
different from participants' self-descriptions were used on the partner's fake impression sheet
(e.g., passionate replaced rational; see Table 1 for the list of 16 traits used in feedback). In
the accurate collective self condition, the experimenter copied one group affiliation
mentioned by the participant onto the fake impression sheet as well as the correct academic
major and the correct size of the city or town where the participant grew up, whereas in the
inaccurate collective self condition, the experimenter mentioned a different group, major,
and size of city or town. To make the collective self feedback as equivalent across cultures
Oishi et al. Page 4
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
as possible, we did not use any ethnic groups (e.g., Chinese student association) in the false
feedback. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: AA (both personal
and collective selves accurate: 15 European Americans, 11 Asian Americans), IA
(inaccurate personal, accurate collective selves: 18 European Americans, 12 Asian
Americans), AI (accurate personal, inaccurate collective selves: 20 European Americans, 13
Asian Americans), or II (both personal and collective selves inaccurate: 18 European
Americans, 10 Asian Americans).
After inspecting an impression sheet presumably completed by the interaction partner,
participants completed two manipulation check items: “How accurate was the interaction
partner's impression of the personal aspects of you (e.g., personality traits)?” and “How
accurate was the interaction partner's impression of the collective aspects of you (e.g., group
affiliations, academic major)?” They responded to these items using a 7-point scale (1 = not
at all accurate to 7 = absolutely accurate). Then participants rated how happy and good they
felt about the impression that the partner had formed of them using a 7-point scale (1 = not
at all to 7 = very strongly). The mean positive affect (happy and good) was 5.11 (SD = 1.21)
and Cronbach's alpha was .85.
Results and Discussion
Our manipulation was successful, as participants in the accurate personal self conditions
(AA, AI) indeed perceived that their interaction partner's impression of their personal self
was more accurate than did participants in the inaccurate conditions (IA, II), Ms = 5.42 (SD
= 0.67) vs. 4.44 (SD = 1.11), t(117) = 5.78, p < .001, d = 1.07 (t[69] = 5.74, p < .001, d =
1.38 for European Americans and t[45] = 2.00, p = .05, d = 0.60 for Asian Americans).
Participants in the accurate collective self conditions (AA, IA) indeed perceived that their
interaction partner's impression of their collective self was more accurate than did
participants in the inaccurate conditions (AI, II), Ms = 5.36 (SD = 1.17) vs. 2.33 (1.30),
t(117) = 13.32, p < .001, d = 2.46 (t[69] = 9.34, p < .001, d = 2.25 for European Americans
and t[45] = 9.44, p < .001, d = 2.81 for Asian Americans).
We went on to conduct a 3-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with cultural group
(European vs. Asian American), personal self (accurate vs. inaccurate), and collective self
(accurate vs. inaccurate) as between-subject variables. As expected, participants in the
accurate condition felt more positive affect (PA) than did those in the inaccurate condition
both in terms of the personal self, F(1, 109) = 5.61, p < .01, d = 0.45, and the collective self,
F(1, 109) = 14.86, p < .01, d = 0.74. There were no 2-way or 3-way interactions, Fs(1, 109)
< 1.39, ps > .24, ds < .23. Also, European American and Asian American participants did
not differ on PA overall across all the conditions, F(1, 109) = 0.62, p = .43, d = 0.15.
Some readers might be surprised not to see an interaction in the above analysis. This is not
surprising, however, considering that we expected no cultural differences in the AA and II
conditions (i.e., expected no cultural differences in two of the four conditions). As
Rosenthal, Rosnow, and Rubin (2000) argued, the omnibus ANOVA often masks interesting
interactions, and the focused hypothesis should be tested with the focused contrast. Our
hypothesis was that (a) there would be no cultural differences in the AA and II conditions,
(b) European Americans would be happier than Asian Americans in the AI condition, and
(c) Asian Americans would be happier than European Americans in the IA condition. Thus,
we tested the significance of the following two orthogonal contrasts simultaneously,
following the guidelines of Rosenthal et al. For European Americans, the contrast was 1, 1,
1, 1 for the AA, IA, AI, and II conditions, respectively. For Asian Americans, the contrast
was 1, 1, 1, 1, for the AA, IA, AI, and II conditions, respectively. Our hypothesis
regarding the pattern of cultural differences across the four experimental conditions was
clearly supported, as there was a significant effect of this set of contrasts, F(1, 115) = 17.53,
Oishi et al. Page 5
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
p < .001, d = 0.78 (see Figure 1). We also tested sex differences and sex-by-contrasts
interactions. There were no sex differences in overall PA, F(1, 115) = 0.04, ns, d = 0.02.
There were also no interactions between sex and this set of contrasts, F(1, 115) = 2.25, p = .
14, d = 0.42.
In addition to the contrast analysis presented above, the II and AA conditions provided
meaningful tests for our hypothesis. Specifically, by comparing the IA and AI conditions to
the II condition, we were able to assess the degree to which accurate perception of each
aspect of the self was beneficial. Consistent with our prediction, accurate perception of the
personal self was beneficial for European Americans, as European Americans in the AI
condition felt significantly happier than did those in the II condition, t(36) = 2.22, p < .05, d
= 0.74. In contrast, accurate perception of the collective self did not benefit European
Americans, as there was no difference between the IA condition and the II condition among
European Americans, t(34) = 1.28, ns, d = 0.44. Contrary to European Americans, accurate
perception of the collective self tended to be beneficial for Asian participants, as Asian
participants in the IA condition were marginally happier than were those in the II condition,
t(20) = 1.95, p = .066, d = 0.87. Again contrasting with European Americans, accurate
perception of the personal self did not make Asian Americans happier, as there was no
difference between AI and II conditions among Asian Americans, t(21) = 0.15, ns, d = 0.07.
Finally, we compared the AI and IA conditions to the AA condition for each cultural group
to examine the degree of detrimental impact of each type of inaccurate perception on PA. As
predicted, inaccurate perception of the personal self was detrimental to European Americans'
happiness, as European Americans in the IA condition felt significantly less positive about
the feedback than did those in the AA condition, t(31) = 2.20, p < .05, d = 0.79. In contrast,
inaccurate perception of the collective self was not harmful for European Americans as there
was no difference between AA and AI conditions, t(33) = 1.78, p = .09, d = 0.62. Differing
from European Americans, inaccurate perception of the collective self was detrimental to
Asian Americans' happiness, as Asian American participants in the AI condition felt
significantly less PA than did those in the AA condition, t(22) = 2.36, p < .05, d = 1.01. In
contrast, inaccurate perception of the personal self did not have a damaging effect on the PA
of Asian Americans, as there was no difference between the AA and IA conditions among
Asian Americans, t(21) = 0.72, ns, d = 0.31.
In sum, accurate perception of the personal self was a critical predictor of happiness for
European Americans, whereas accurate perception of the collective self was a critical
predictor of happiness for Asian Americans. Our findings suggest, for example, that
European Americans who think of themselves as laid-back would not be happy if their
interaction partners perceived them as serious, whereas Asian Americans who think of
themselves as laid-back would be relatively unaffected if their interaction partners perceived
them as serious. This might be because Asian Americans can think of the situations in which
they were serious and see why their interaction partners thought of them as serious (see Choi
& Choi, 2002, for empirical demonstration). In contrast, Asian Americans for whom being
psychology majors is an important aspect of their collective selves would not be happy if
their interaction partners perceived them to be economics majors, whereas European
American psychology majors would not be affected if their interaction partners perceived
them to be economics majors. These examples illustrate important cultural differences in
interpersonal conditions that lead to a sense of felt understanding and happiness in social
interactions.
In Study 1a we established cultural differences in the effect of accurate perception of the
personal and collective selves on happiness in social interactions. However, one weakness
was that the interaction consisted of spending 20 to 30 minutes with a stranger and thus was
Oishi et al. Page 6
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
quite artificial. This leaves open the possibility that our findings are simply a product of this
type of laboratory interaction rather than indicative of some general pattern in social
interactions. The second weakness of this study was that PA was measured in reaction to
specific feedback. In their daily lives, people often learn how others perceive them through a
third party (e.g., your friend lets you know that someone thinks you are a serious person),
and they affectively react to this information. However, we rarely receive direct feedback
from the interaction partner. It is therefore important to examine whether the findings from
Study 1a can be generalized to PA felt in daily social interactions. Finally, there is an
artifactual explanation of the findings with regard to the personal self. If the personality
traits used in this study were more desirable for European American participants than for
Asian Americans, this explains why the accuracy of the feedback regarding the personal self
led to greater happiness among European Americans than among Asian Americans. In terms
of the collective self, however, we found no differences in the type of group affiliations
either listed by participants or received in the false feedback.
1
STUDY 1B
We conducted Study 1b to test the artifactual alternative explanation for Study 1a by
examining cross-cultural comparability of the traits that we used in the first study.
Participants in Study 1a chose 2 traits that described them best out of 10 possible traits. For
the manipulation of the accuracy or inaccuracy of the personal self, we used 16 personality
traits that were very similar or dissimilar to the original 10 traits. In total, we used 26 traits
in Study 1a (see Table 1 for the entire list). Participants in Study 1b evaluated each of these
traits in terms of desirability.
Method
Participants—Eighty-eight students (36 male, 52 female) at California State University,
East Bay, participated in this study. Forty-seven of them identified themselves as Asian
Americans, 32 as European Americans, and 9 as Others.
Procedure—Participants were provided with 26 personality traits and asked to indicate the
desirability of each trait on a 7-point scale (1 = not at all desirable; 7 = extremely desirable).
Results and Discussion
Only 1 trait of the 10 traits in the original list showed any cultural difference in desirability
(see Table 1). European Americans viewed rational as more desirable than did Asian
Americans, t(77) = 2.03, p < .05, d = 0.46. In the actual feedback that participants received
in Study 1a, the term logical was used for those who chose rational as self-descriptive. It is
interesting that the term logical did not differ in desirability across the two groups, t(77) =
0.01, ns, d = 0.00. The only other trait that differed in desirability was the term cautious,
which was used in the inaccurate feedback for those who had chosen fun-loving as self-
descriptive, t(77) = 2.87, p < .05, d = 0.66. On average, Asian Americans viewed cautious as
more desirable than did European Americans. Considering that 15 of the 16 traits used in the
feedback showed no cultural differences in desirability, it is unlikely that the findings from
Study 1a are because of cross-cultural differences in desirability.
We conducted another analysis, however, to directly test the cross-cultural equivalence in
the desirability of the personal self-feedback in Study 1a. We computed the mean
1
We classified group affiliations into student organization, athletic, Greek, arts, religious, volunteer, or ethnic group, and we counted
the number of each type of group. There were no differences in any type of group affiliation either listed by participants themselves (|t|
s < 1.40, ps > .17) or received in feedback (|t|s < 1.76, ps > .08).
Oishi et al. Page 7
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
desirability ratings of the personality feedback for each participant by replacing each
individual rating with the mean desirability ratings for the group. Specifically, we took the
average desirability rating of each cultural group for each trait obtained in Study 1b,
assigned these group scores to each participant's actual trait feedback in Study 1a, then
computed the desirability ratings for each participant in Study 1a. For example, an Asian
American participant who received open and playful as feedback in Study 1a was given a
score of 6.075 (because among Asian Americans in Study 1b, open had a mean desirability
rating of 6.15 and playful had a mean desirability rating of 6.00, and the average of these
two scores is 6.075), whereas a European American participant who received laid-back and
agreeable was given a score of 5.31 (because among European Americans in Study 1b,
laidback had a mean desirability rating of 5.56 and agreeable had a mean desirability rating
of 5.06, and the average of these scores is 5.31). It is most important that we did not find any
difference between the two groups in the mean desirability ratings of the actual personality
traits that participants received in their feedback in Study 1a, Asian Americans M = 5.51, SD
= 0.34; European Americans M = 5.41, SD = 0.48); t(67) = 0.93, ns, d = 0.23.
In sum, Study 1b demonstrated that the cultural difference we observed in Study 1a with
regard to the personal self-feedback cannot be due to cultural differences in the desirability
of the personality traits that we used in Study 1a. Once we eliminated the artifactual
alternative explanation for Study 1a, we went on to address the remaining issues from Study
1a in the next two studies.
STUDY 2: EVENT SAMPLING STUDY
We conducted Study 2 to address two limitations of Study 1a: (a) a contrived social
interaction in the laboratory and (b) affective outcome specific to the feedback. This time we
used an event sampling method to examine the relationship between the accurate perception
of the personal and collective selves and happiness in the context of natural, daily social
interactions. Over a 2-week period, participants completed mood ratings after each naturally
occurring social interaction that lasted more than 10 minutes, and they indicated the degree
to which they felt understood by the interaction partner in terms of their personal and
collective selves.
Method
Participants—Participants were 107 students at the University of Minnesota who
responded to an ad in the student newspaper. Of the 107 original participants, 7 (6.5%)
completed less than 10 valid reports for the 2-week period and were excluded from our
analyses. Three (2.8%) additional individuals' data were lost because they forgot to recharge
the personal digital assistant (PDA) during the 2-week period. Thus, the final sample
consisted of 97 (87% of the original) participants, 56 (20 men, 33 women, and 3 did not
provide this information) of whom identified themselves as European American and 41 (22
men, 18 women, and 1 did not provide this information) of whom identified themselves as
Asian or Asian American. Participants received $25 upon completion of the study.
Materials and Procedure—Participants came to a research laboratory and met
individually with an experimenter. The experimenter gave each participant a PDA that was
programmed with a short survey and told participants to complete this survey each time they
engaged in a social interaction that lasted more than 10 minutes. Participants were told to
document their social interactions in this way for the next 2 weeks. The experimenter
defined a social interaction as one that involves a face-to-face conversation, a shared activity
(e.g., playing cards together), a phone conversation, or an instant message conversation.
Participants were also informed that all of their entries would be automatically time
stamped.
Oishi et al. Page 8
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Event sampling items: Participants indicated how happy and pleasant they felt during the
interaction using a 7-point scale ranging from not at all (1) to extremely (7). We computed a
PA score by taking the average of happy and pleasant (α = .82). Participants then reported
the extent to which their interaction partner understood their personal self (i.e., their
“personality” and their “abilities and skills”; α = .88) and the extent to which the interaction
partner understood their collective self (i.e., their “social and cultural background” and their
“social roles and situations”; α = .86). In addition, participants reported who the interaction
partner was from the following list: friend, roommate, romantic partner, family member,
stranger, coworker, or other. Among the valid reports, on average 45.7% of the interactions
were with a friend, 10.4% were with a family member, 9.6% were with a roommate, 9.3%
were with a romantic partner, 9.3% were with a coworker, 9.1% were with an other, and
6.6% were with a stranger.
In 2 weeks, the mean number of reports that participants completed was 57.62 (SD = 36.63).
There were no cultural group differences in the number of reports, t(95) = 1.26, ns, d = 0.26.
Female participants completed more reports than did male participants, t(91) = 2.82, p < .01,
d = 0.59. There was no culture-by-sex interaction in the number of reports completed, F(1,
89) = 1.09, ns, d = 0.22.
Results and Discussion
We tested our hypotheses using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM 5.04 program;
Raudenbush, Bryk, Cheong, & Congdon, 2001) because our data consisted of two levels:
within-person and between-person levels. The specific model that we tested was as follows:
Level 1: within-person
Level 2: between-person
where PA denotes positive affect, Personal Self denotes the degree to which their
personality and abilities and skills were understood by the interaction partner, and Collective
Self denotes the degree to which their social and cultural background and social roles and
situations were understood by the interaction partner. At Level 2, Culture was coded such
that European American participants were 0 and Asian American participants were 1, and
Sex was coded such that male participants were 0 and female participants were 1. Personal
self and collective self scores were centered around each individual's mean. As can be seen
in Table 2, there were no sex differences in the average PA, in the association between felt
understanding of the personal self and PA, or in the association between felt understanding
of the collective self and PA, |t|s < 0.69, ps > .48, ds < 0.15.
Our hypothesis with regard to the personal self was supported; European Americans' PA was
more strongly associated with the understanding of their personal self than was Asians', (γ
11
= .19, t = 3.51, p < .01, d = 0.73).
2
As can be seen in Figure 2, a one-unit increase (i.e.,
1 point increase in the 7-point scale) in the understanding of the personal self was associated
with a .45 increase in PA among European American participants. In contrast, a one-unit
increase in felt understanding of the personal self was associated with a .25 increase in PA
Oishi et al. Page 9
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
among Asian American participants. Namely, when European American participants felt
that their personal self was well understood by the interaction partner, they also felt
substantially more PA than when they felt that their personal self was not well understood.
Although Asian Americans felt more PA when their personal self was well understood by
the interaction partner than when it was not well understood, the link between felt
understanding of the personal self and PA was significantly weaker among them.
Our hypothesis concerning the collective self was also partially supported, as the
understanding of the collective self was positively associated with PA among Asian
Americans (β
2
= .06), whereas it was not related to PA at all among European Americans
(β
2
= .03; γ
21
= 0.09, t = 1.69, p = .09, d = 0.35). As can be seen in Figure 3, the accurate
understanding of the collective self was a marginally stronger predictor of happiness in daily
social interactions among Asian Americans than among European Americans.
We next examined whether the patterns found above were generalizable across different
types of interactions. Because specific types of interactions were limited in number with the
possible exception of interactions with friends, it was not possible to repeat the above HLM
analysis for each type of social interaction. Thus, we created two types of interactions out of
the seven types assessed: (a) close others (i.e., friend, romantic partner, family member, or
roommate) and (b) distant others (i.e., stranger, coworker, and other), and repeated the above
analysis. The HLM analysis on interactions only with close others again showed that
European Americans felt more PA than did Asian Americans when their personal self was
accurately perceived by their interaction partner, γ
11
= .24 (SE = .06), t = 3.62, p < .01, d
= 0.76, and Asian Americans felt more PA than did European Americans when their
collective self was accurately perceived by their interaction partner, γ
21
= .15 (SE = .07), t =
2.24, p < .05, d = 0.47. The HLM analysis on interactions only with distant others also
showed that European Americans felt more PA than did Asian Americans when their
personal self was accurately perceived by their interaction partner, γ
11
= .28 (SE = .07), t =
3.75, p < .01, d = 0.79. Asian Americans, however, did not feel more PA than European
Americans did when their collective self was accurately perceived by a distant interaction
partner, γ
21
= .05 (SE = .08), t = 0.62, ns, d = 0.13.
By and large, Study 2 replicated the findings from Study 1a using a very different method.
European American participants felt happier and more pleasant than Asian Americans did
when their personal self was accurately perceived by their interaction partner. In contrast,
Asian Americans felt marginally happier than European Americans did when their collective
self was accurately perceived by their interaction partner. The findings from Study 2
indicate that cultural differences in the interpersonal conditions associated with happiness
were not limited to a brief laboratory interaction with a stranger as found in Study 1a or to
reactions to the specific impression feedback, but they were generalizable to the social
interactions that college students typically encounter in their daily lives.
STUDY 3: A THREE-GROUP COMPARISON
Our main predictions were largely supported in both a laboratory and an event sampling
study. In Studies 1 and 2, however, we used a two-group comparison. This leaves alternative
explanations for the main findings (Norenzayan & Heine, 2005). For instance, Asian and
European Americans are different not only in their cultural orientation toward the self (e.g.,
2
To our knowledge, a consensus has not been reached regarding the appropriate effect size for multilevel analysis (Roberts &
Monaco, 2006). To provide some idea regarding the magnitude of the effects from the hierarchical linear modeling analyses reported
in Studies 2 and 3, however, we converted t-values to rs, using formula 2.5 in Rosenthal, Rosnow, and Rubin (2000) and then
converted rs to ds using formula 2.14. Because hierarchical linear modeling analysis provides only approximate dfs, we used the
approximate df in place of df in the formula 2.5. This might result in some bias in the estimation.
Oishi et al. Page 10
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
values and self-evaluation) but also in the minority-majority status. As summarized in the
introduction, African Americans' cultural orientation toward the self is on average more
similar to European Americans' than to Asian Americans' (e.g., Oyserman et al., 2002;
Twenge & Crocker, 2002). Thus, if the cultural explanation is valid, African Americans
should show patterns of happiness similar to European Americans. In contrast, if noncultural
factors, such as the minority status, underlie the findings from Studies 1 and 2, African
Americans should not show patterns of happiness similar to European Americans. In sum,
we conducted Study 3 to (a) further examine the replicability of the findings from Studies 1
and 2 and (b) test the cultural account more rigorously using a three-group comparison
method.
Method
Participants—Participants were 146 students at the University of Virginia. Fifty-two of
them (17 men, 35 women) self-identified as European Americans, 48 (10 men, 37 women,
one did not provide this information) self-identified as African Americans, and 46 (12 men,
34 women) self-identified as Asian Americans. Of the original 146 participants, 11
participants (7.5%) completed less than 10 valid reports and were excluded from our
analyses. In addition, 10 participants' data (6.8%) were lost because of participants' errors
(e.g., forgot to recharge PDA, broke or lost PDA) or the experimenter's errors (e.g.,
overwrote the data). The final sample included 124 participants: 41 European Americans (12
men, 30 women), 41 African Americans (7 men, 34 women), and 42 Asian Americans (9
men, 33 women). They were paid $25 for their participation.
Materials and procedure were exactly the same as in Study 2. Cronbach's alphas was .86 for
PA, .85 for the personal self, and .90 for the collective self. On average, participants
completed 36.74 reports (SD = 21.86). There were no differences in the number of reports
completed among European, African, and Asian Americans, F(2, 118) = 1.84, p = .16, d =
0.25. As in Study 2, women completed more reports than did men, F(1, 118) = 4.85, p < .05,
d = 0.41. There was no group-by-sex interaction in the number of reports completed, F(2,
118) = .63, ns, d = 0.14. Among the valid reports, on average, 48.9% of the interactions
reported were with a friend, 14.5% were with a roommate, 12.2% were with a family
member, 12% were with a romantic partner, 4.5% were with a stranger, 4.4% were with an
other, and 2.4% were with a coworker.
Results and Discussion
We tested our hypotheses again using HLM (5.04 program). The specific model that we
tested was as follows:
Level 1: within-person
Level 2: between-person
Oishi et al. Page 11
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
The Level 1 model was exactly the same as in Study 2. At Level 2, the three groups were
coded using dummy coding in which European American was the reference group. In Code
1, European and Asian Americans were coded as 0 and African Americans were coded as 1.
In Code 2, European and African Americans were coded as 0 and Asian Americans were
coded as 1. Thus, Code 1 indicates the difference between European Americans and African
Americans, and Code 2 indicates the difference between European Americans and Asian
Americans. In Sex, male participants were coded as 0 and female participants were coded as
1. Personal self and collective self scores were centered around each individual's mean.
European Americans Versus Asian Americans—Replicating Study 2, the HLM
analysis again showed that European Americans' PA was more strongly associated with the
understanding of the personal self than was Asians', γ
13
= .14, t = 2.07, p < .05, d = 0.38
(see Table 3). As can be seen in Figure 4, accurate perception of the personal self by an
interaction partner was more strongly associated with European Americans' PA than with
Asian Americans' PA. Also replicating Study 2, the understanding of the collective self was
positively associated with PA among Asians (β
2
= .20), whereas it was not related to PA
among European Americans (β
2
= .06; γ
23
= .14, t = 1.92, p = .055, d = 0.36; see Figure 5).
As in Studies 1a and 2, therefore, accurate perception of the collective self was marginally
more associated with Asian Americans' PA than with European Americans' PA.
European Americans Versus African Americans—Whereas we found consistent
differences between Asian Americans and European Americans, we did not find a
significant difference between African Americans (β
1
= .45) and European Americans (β
1
= .56) in the strength of association between the understanding of the personal self and PA,
γ
12
= .11, t = 1.49, p = 0.136, d 0.28.
3
Likewise, there were no differences between
African Americans (β
2
= .11) and European Americans (β
2
= .06) in the association between
the understanding of the collective self and PA, γ
22
= .05, t = 0.69, p = .489, d = 0.13.
As in Study 2, we also examined whether the patterns of results we obtained above were
specific to interactions with close others (i.e., friend, romantic partner, roommate, family
member) by repeating the above HLM analysis. Consistent with Study 2, the understanding
of the personal self was again more strongly associated with PA among European
Americans than among Asian Americans when we only examined the social interactions
with close others, γ
13
= .15, t = 2.10, p < .05, d = 0.39. Furthermore, the understanding of
the collective self was more strongly associated with PA among Asian Americans than
among European Americans when we analyzed only the social interactions with close
others, γ
23
= .15, t = 2.05, p < .05, d = 0.38. Consistent with the above analyses, there were
no differences between African Americans and European Americans either in the strength of
association between the understanding of the personal self and PA, γ
12
= .04, t = 0.53, p
= .60, d = 0.09, or in the association between the understanding of the collective self and
PA, γ
22
= .01, t = 0.12, p = .90, d = 0.02. We were unable to conduct the above HLM
analysis with only the interactions with distant others because there were only 505 valid
event reports for 100 participants in total (or 5 reports per person, which is not sufficient to
3
The degree of association between the understanding of the personal self and positive affect was very similar between African
Americans and Asian Americans, γ
12
= .03, t = 0.48, p = .63, d = 0.10. The degree of association between the understanding of the
collective self and positive affect was also not significantly different between these two groups, γ
22
= .08, t = 1.11, p = .27, d =
0.25.
Oishi et al. Page 12
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
obtain the Level 1 coefficients). This would be equivalent to running a multiple regression
with 5 cases.
In sum, Study 3 replicated the main findings from Studies 1a and 2, again using an event
sampling method. European American participants felt happier than Asian Americans did
when their personal self was accurately perceived by their interaction partner. In contrast,
Asian Americans tended to feel happier than European Americans did when their collective
self was accurately perceived by their interaction partner. Furthermore, the patterns of
happiness felt in social interactions among African Americans were not different from those
among European Americans.
GENERAL DISCUSSION
In three studies, we examined cultural differences in interpersonal perceptions that are
linked to happiness in social interactions. Both in a laboratory study (Study 1a) and in event
sampling studies (Studies 2 and 3), we found that European Americans felt happier than
Asians did when their interaction partner perceived their personal self accurately, whereas
Asian Americans felt happier than European Americans did when their interaction partner
perceived their collective self accurately. Furthermore, in Study 3 we found no significant
differences between African Americans and European Americans in the link between the
understanding of specific aspects of the self and happiness felt in social interactions.
These findings have several important implications for research on well-being, social
relationships, the self, and culture. First, although previous research has shown a strong
association between relationship quality and well-being, most of the previous research of
this type has been correlational (see Myers, 1999, for a review). Thus, it was possible that
satisfied people simply viewed their relationships in a more positive light, and the factors
that might lead to satisfaction in actual social interactions as well as the potential individual
or cross-cultural differences in these factors remained unclear. Study 1a demonstrated that
the accurate perception of important aspects of the self has a causal impact on happiness felt
in social interactions. Moreover, it showed that the type of accurate perception of the self
that leads to happiness varies systematically between European and Asian Americans.
Second, although many factors associated with cultural differences in well-being have been
brought to light in previous research (see Diener, Oishi, & Lucas, 2003, for review), the vast
majority of this research has employed global self-reports of well-being. Previous research
in this area has rarely examined how people actually felt and behaved in their daily lives or
in naturally occurring social interactions (see Kitayama, Mesquita, & Karasawa, 2006;
Mesquita & Karasawa, 2002; Oishi et al., 2004, for exceptions). Thus, the processes
underlying well-being and interpersonal understanding remained ambiguous until now. This
research demonstrates that felt understanding of either the personal or the collective self can
be critical to the experience of PA in social interactions, thereby delineating the specific
interpersonal conditions that produce interpersonal happiness. Our findings provide support
for self-verification theory (Swann, 1990) and intimacy model (Reis et al., 2004) in that
responsiveness to important aspects of the self is of great import in interpersonal
understanding and happiness felt in social interactions. We further extended these theories
by demonstrating that because important aspects of the self differ systematically across
cultures (Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Triandis, 1989) the aspects of the self that need to be
understood by an interaction partner differ systematically across cultures as well.
Third, our main findings were replicated when we analyzed only interactions with close
others both in terms of the personal and the collective selves in Studies 2 and 3. Considering
that the interactions in Study 1a were with strangers, it appears that the main interpersonal
Oishi et al. Page 13
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
processes that we proposed apply to interactions with strangers as well as to interactions
with close others. However, one exception existed in that Asian American participants in
Study 2 did not feel particularly happy when distant others (i.e., strangers, coworkers, and
others) accurately understood their collective selves. Because Asian Americans tend to make
a sharper distinction between close and distant others than do European Americans (Oishi et
al., 2004; Suh, 2002), the predictors of happiness in social interactions might vary more
radically among Asian Americans than European Americans, depending on the type of
interaction partner. This possibility needs to be clarified in the future.
Finally, our three-culture comparison strategy (Norenzayan & Heine, 2005) used in Study 3
clarified that our main findings are not simply because of the minority status of Asian
Americans in the United States. If the minority status per se was a driving force for the
difference between Asian Americans' affective patterns and European Americans', then
African Americans should have shown patterns similar to those of Asian Americans.
Although African Americans and Asian Americans showed similar affective patterns in
terms of the personal self (see Figure 4), they were quite different in terms of the collective
self (see Figure 5). In addition, research with Japanese in Japan (i.e., the majority group) has
shown a convergent pattern of results with our findings with Asian Americans (e.g.,
Hoshino-Browne et al., 2005, Study 2; Kitayama et al., 2006). For instance, Kitayama et al.
(2006) showed that Japanese in Japan felt happy when they also felt socially engaging
emotions, which are presumably felt when an interaction partner affirms the experiencer's
interdependence of the self.
The difference between Asian Americans and African Americans in the understanding of the
collective self could be best attributed to sociohistorical factors. On average, African
Americans' cultural background is historically devalued to a greater degree than is Asian
Americans' cultural background in the United States. (e.g., Crocker & Major, 1989; Ogbu,
1978; Takaki, 1989). These historical differences might be a reason why the public and
private aspects of collective self-esteem were positively correlated among Asian Americans,
whereas they were not among African Americans (Crocker, Luhtanen, Blaine, & Broadnax,
1994). In a related vein, the stigmatized collective identity might also be responsible for the
stereotype threat effect found among African Americans (e.g., Steele & Aronson, 1995). Our
findings, then, suggest that the understanding of the collective self leads to happiness in
social interactions when the collective self is chronically accessible, personally important,
and positively valued in society.
Before we reach our conclusions, the limitations of our research should be addressed. First,
all the traits used in Study 1a, and most self-defining traits and group affiliations, are
typically perceived to be positive by participants. Thus, it is possible that participants in our
studies felt that their interaction partner thought highly of them when they felt that their
interaction partner accurately perceived their personally important aspects of the self. In a
sense, the effect we obtained of accurate understanding of important aspects of the self on
PA might be mediated by perceived positive regard. This needs to be clarified in future
research. Second, our findings regarding the collective self were marginal in Studies 2 and 3.
This might be because of imprecision in assessment of the collective self. It is important to
harness the assessment of the collective self in the future. Third, we grouped together all
self-identified Asian Americans. As we develop this program of research in the future, it
will be important to determine whether these findings can be replicated using specific ethnic
groups (e.g., Chinese, Vietnamese), different generations of Asian Americans, and various
other types of cultural groups (e.g., those who share a religious, sexual, or political
orientation). Finally, we focused on a narrow quality of PA in our investigation. It is
important to examine various qualities of PA (e.g., excitement vs. calmness; Oishi,
Schimmack, & Colcombe, 2003; Tsai, Knutson, & Fung, 2006) in the future.
Oishi et al. Page 14
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
CONCLUSION
Despite some limitations, this study reveals consistent cultural differences between
European Americans and Asian Americans in the interpersonal processes associated with
happiness. In conclusion, this research demonstrates that accurate perception of the personal
self is key to happiness in social interactions among European Americans, whereas accurate
perception of the collective self is critical to happiness in social interactions among Asians.
It is well known that social relationships are important building blocks of a general sense of
well-being (Ryan & Deci, 2000; Ryff & Singer, 1998). Considering that affective outcomes
of social interactions are associated with the continuation and maintenance of relationships
(Elliott & James, 1989), these outcomes are likely to be associated with a general sense of
well-being as well. Our findings, then, indicate that the affective basis of relationship
development and maintenance differs across cultures and that the interpersonal conditions
that are conducive to a general sense of well-being might be different across cultures. In the
future, it will be important to extend this research to various relationship contexts, including
husband-wife, client-therapist, student-teacher, and employee-supervisor. These types of
investigations will deepen people's understanding of the link between interpersonal
processes and happiness and will help them develop ways to improve many interactions and
relationships in their daily lives.
Acknowledgments
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Institute of Mental Health Research Grant R01-MH066857
and the Positive Psychology Young Scholar Grant. We also thank Don Choi, Lihn Tran, Jenny Reinke, Gary
Sherman, and Margarita Krochik for their help with the data collection.
REFERENCES
Adams G, Plaut VC. The cultural grounding of personal relationship: Friendship in North American
and West African worlds. Personal Relationships 2003;10:333–347.
Cantor N. Life task problem solving: Situational affordances and personal needs. Personality and
Social Psychology Bulletin 1994;20:235–243.
Chen S, Chen KY, Shaw L. Self-verification motives at the collective level of self-definition. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology 2004;86:77–94. [PubMed: 14717629]
Choi I, Choi Y. Culture and self-concept flexibility. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
2002;28:1508–1517.
Cousins SD. Culture and self-perception in Japan and the United States. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 1989;56:124–131.
Crocker J, Luhtanen R, Blaine B, Broadnax S. Collective self-esteem and psychological well-being
among White, Black, and Asian college students. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
1994;20:503–513.
Crocker J, Major B. Social stigma and self-esteem: The self-protective properties of stigma.
Psychological Review 1989;96:608–630.
Diener E, Oishi S, Lucas RE. Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: Emotional and cognitive
evaluations of life. Annual Review of Psychology 2003;54:403–425.
Elliott R, James E. Varieties of client experience in psychotherapy: An analysis of the literature.
Clinical Psychology Review 1989;9:443–467.
Heine SJ, Renshaw K. Interjudge agreement, self-enhancement, and liking: Cross-cultural divergences.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2002;28:578–587.
Hoshino-Browne E, Zanna AS, Spencer SJ, Zanna MP, Kitayama S, Lackenbauer S. On the cultural
guises of cognitive dissonance: The case of Easterners and Westerners. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 2005;89:294–310. [PubMed: 16248715]
Kanagawa C, Cross SE, Markus HR. “Who am I?” The cultural psychology of the conceptual self.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2001;27:90–103.
Oishi et al. Page 15
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Kitayama S, Mesquita B, Karasawa M. Cultural affordances and emotional experience: Socially
engaging and disengaging emotions in Japan and the United States. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 2006;91:890–903. [PubMed: 17059308]
Kwan VSY, Bond MH, Singelis TM. Pancultural explanations for life satisfaction: Adding relationship
harmony to self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1997;73:1038–1051.
[PubMed: 9364759]
Levine R, Sato S, Hashimoto T, Verma J. Love and marriage in eleven cultures. Journal of Cross-
Cultural Psychology 1995;26:554–571.
Markus HR, Kitayama S. Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation.
Psychological Review 1991;98:224–253.
Mesquita B, Karasawa M. Different emotional lives. Cognition and Emotion 2002;16:127–141.
Murray SL, Holmes JG, Bellavia G, Griffin DW, Dolderman D. Kindred spirits? The benefits of
egocentrism in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2002;82:563–
581. [PubMed: 11999924]
Myers, DG. Close relationships and quality of life. In: Kahneman, D.; Diener, E.; Schwarz, N., editors.
Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology. Russell Sage; New York: 1999. p. 374-391.
Norenzayan A, Heine SJ. Psychological universals: What are they and how can we know?
Psychological Bulletin 2005;131:763–784. [PubMed: 16187859]
Ogbu, JU. Minority education and caste: The American system in cross-cultural perspective.
Academic Press; New York: 1978.
Oishi S, Diener E, Scollon CN, Biswas-Diener R. Cross-situational consistency of affective
experiences across cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2004;86:460–472.
[PubMed: 15008649]
Oishi S, Lun J, Sherman GD. Residential mobility, self-concept, and positive affect in social
interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2007;93:131–141. [PubMed:
17605594]
Oishi S, Schimmack U, Colcombe S. The contextual and systematic nature of life satisfaction
judgments. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2003;39:232–247.
Oishi S, Wyer RS Jr. Colcombe S. Cultural variation in the use of current life satisfaction to predict the
future. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2000;78:434–445. [PubMed: 10743872]
Oyserman D, Coon HM, Kemmelmeier M. Rethinking individualism and collectivism: Evaluation of
theoretical assumptions and meta-analyses. Psychological Bulletin 2002;128:3–72. [PubMed:
11843547]
Raudenbush, S.; Bryk, A.; Cheong, Y-F.; Congdon, R. HLM5: Hierarchical linear and nonlinear
modeling. SSI Scientific Software International; Lincolnwood, IL: 2001.
Reis, HT.; Clark, MS.; Holmes, JG. Perceived partner responsiveness as an organizing construct in the
study of intimacy and closeness. In: Mashek, DJ.; Aron, AP., editors. Handbook of closeness and
intimacy. Lawrence Erlbaum; Mahwah, NJ: 2004. p. 201-225.
Reis, HT.; Gable, SL. Event-sampling and other methods for studying everyday experience. In: Reis,
HT.; Judd, CM., editors. Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology.
Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, UK: 2000. p. 190-222.
Reis, HT.; Patrick, BC. Attachment and intimacy: Component processes. In: Higgins, ET.; Kruglanski,
A., editors. Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles. Guilford; New York: 1996. p.
523-563.
Roberts, JK.; Monaco, JP. Effect size measures for the two-level linear multilevel model; Paper
presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association; San
Francisco. Apr. 2006
Rosenthal, R.; Rosnow, RL.; Rubin, DB. Contrasts and effect sizes in behavioral research: A
correlational approach. Cambridge University Press; New York: 2000.
Ryan RM, Deci EL. Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social
development, and well-being. American Psychologist 2000;55:68–78. [PubMed: 11392867]
Ryff CD, Singer B. The contours of positive human health. Psychological Inquiry 1998;9:1–28.
Oishi et al. Page 16
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Steele CM, Aronson J. Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1995;69:797–811. [PubMed: 7473032]
Suh, EM. Culture, identity consistency, and subjective well-being. University of Illinois; Urbana-
Champaign: 1999. Unpublished dissertation
Suh EM. Culture, identity consistency, and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology 2002;83:1378–1391. [PubMed: 12500819]
Swann, WB, Jr.. To be adored or to be known: The interplay of self-enhancement and self-verification.
In: Sorrentino, RM.; Higgins, ET., editors. Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of
social behavior. Vol. 2. Guilford; New York: 1990. p. 408-448.
Takaki, R. Strangers from a different shore: A history of Asian Americans. Penguin; New York: 1989.
Taylor SE, Sherman DK, Kim HS, Jarcho J, Takagi K, Dunagan MS. Culture and social support: Who
seeks it and why? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2004;87:354–362. [PubMed:
15382985]
Triandis HC. The self and social behavior in differing cultural contexts. Psychological Review
1989;96:506–520.
Tsai JL, Knutson BK, Fung HH. Cultural variation in affect valuation. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 2006;90:288–307. [PubMed: 16536652]
Twenge J, Crocker J. Race, ethnicity, and self-esteem: Meta-analyses comparing Whites, Blacks,
Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans, including a commentary on Gray-Little and Hafdahl
(2000). Psychological Bulletin 2002;128:371–408. [PubMed: 12002695]
Wheeler L, Reis HT, Bond MH. Collectivism-individualism in everyday social life: The middle
kingdom and the melting pot. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1989;57:79–96.
Zuckerman M. Attribution of success and failure revisited: Or the motivational bias is alive and well in
attribution theory. Journal of Personality 1979;47:245–287.
Oishi et al. Page 17
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Figure 1.
How happy and good participants felt by experimental conditions and cultural groups in
Study 1a.
NOTE: PA = positive affect; AA = accurate personal and collective selves feedback
condition; IA = inaccurate personal, accurate collective selves condition; AI = accurate
personal, inaccurate collective selves condition; II = inaccurate personal and collective
selves condition.
Oishi et al. Page 18
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Figure 2.
Average within-person association between the understanding of personal self and positive
affect for European Americans and Asian Americans in Study 2.
NOTE: 2, 1, +1, and +2 indicate the difference from participants' overall mean
understanding of the personal self on a 7-point scale. PA = positive affect.
Oishi et al. Page 19
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Figure 3.
Average within-person association between the understanding of collective self and positive
affect for European Americans and Asian Americans in Study 2.
NOTE: 2, 1, +1, and +2 indicate the difference from participants' overall mean
understanding of the collective self on a 7-point scale. PA = positive affect.
Oishi et al. Page 20
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Figure 4.
Average within-person association between the understanding of personal self and positive
affect for European Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans in Study 3.
NOTE: 2, 1, +1, and +2 indicate the difference from participants' overall mean
understanding of the personal self on a 7-point scale. PA = positive affect.
Oishi et al. Page 21
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Figure 5.
Average within-person association between the understanding of collective self and positive
affect for European Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans in Study 3.
NOTE: 2, 1, +1, and +2 indicate the difference from participants' overall mean
understanding of the collective self on a 7-point scale. PA = positive affect.
Oishi et al. Page 22
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Oishi et al. Page 23
TABLE 1
: Desirability Ratings of 26 Personality Traits for Asian and European Americans in Study 1b
Asian Americans European Americans
Trait M SD M SD t d
Hardworking 5.94 1.19 6.19 1.03 −0.97 −0.22
Intelligent 6.00 1.02 6.22 0.87 −0.99 −0.23
Fun-loving 6.19 0.97 6.25 0.88 −0.27 −0.06
Friendly 6.36 0.82 6.31 0.82 0.26 0.06
Stubborn 3.28 1.72 3.00 1.05 0.89 0.20
Cooperative 6.04 1.02 5.78 0.94 1.15 0.26
Relaxed 5.77 1.13 5.61 1.17 0.58 0.13
Leader 4.96 1.57 5.31 1.20 −1.08 −0.25
Emotional 4.39 1.64 4.13 1.24 0.82 0.19
Rational 5.02 1.30 5.59 1.13
−2.03
*
−0.46
Laid-back 5.06 1.63 5.56 1.16 −1.49 −0.34
Carefree 4.98 1.42 4.47 1.34 1.60 0.36
Playful 6.00 1.06 5.59 1.07 1.67 0.38
Smart 6.17 0.99 6.19 1.00 −0.08 −0.02
Assertive 5.30 1.33 5.28 0.99 0.06 0.01
Agreeable 5.45 1.10 5.06 1.16 1.49 0.34
Serious 4.66 1.37 4.48 1.00 0.66 0.15
Logical 5.40 1.12 5.41 0.91 −0.01 −0.00
Cautious 5.38 1.24 4.63 1.01
2.87
** 0.66
Open 6.15 1.00 6.00 1.08 0.63 0.14
Passionate 6.04 0.91 6.09 0.96 −0.24 −0.05
Independent 5.85 1.22 5.63 1.07 0.85 0.19
Flexible 5.72 1.14 5.53 1.16 0.73 0.17
Tough 5.06 1.39 4.72 1.51 1.05 0.24
Warm 5.91 1.06 5.53 1.16 1.52 0.35
Calm 5.81 1.12 5.63 1.36 0.66 0.15
NOTE: The first 10 traits were on the original list (in the self-description phase of Study 1a). The next 16 traits were used in the feedback in Study 1a.
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Oishi et al. Page 24
*
p < .05.
**
p < .01.
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Oishi et al. Page 25
TABLE 2
Cultural Differences in the Relations Between the Accurate Perception of Personal and Collective Selves and
Positive Affect in Study 2
Fixed Effect Coefficient (SE) t Ratio p Value
Intercept, β
0
Intercept, γ
00
5.13 (0.11) 44.71 .000
Culture, γ
01
−0.54 (0.13) −4.11 .000
Sex, γ
02
−0.07 (0.12) −0.58 .560
Personal self slope, β
1
Intercept, γ
10
0.45 (0.05) 9.63 .000
Culture, γ
11
−0.19 (0.05) −3.51 .001
Sex, γ
12
−0.03 (0.05) −0.69 .488
Collective self slope, β
2
Intercept, γ
20
−0.03 (0.05) −0.65 .514
Culture, γ
21
0.09 (0.05) 1.69 .091
Sex, γ
22
0.01 (0.05) 0.28 .779
NOTE: In Culture, European Americans were coded as 0, and Asian Americans were coded as 1. Approximate df was 91 for this analysis.
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
Oishi et al. Page 26
TABLE 3
Cultural Differences in the Relations Between the Accurate Perception of Personal and Collective Selves and
Positive Affect in Study 3
Fixed Effect Coefficient (SE) t Ratio p Value
Intercept, β
0
Intercept, γ
00
4.86 (0.14) 35.82 .000
Sex, γ
01
0.20 (0.14) 1.45 .146
Code 1, γ
02
−0.19 (0.14) −1.33 .184
Code 2, γ
03
−0.22 (0.14) −1.59 .111
Personal self slope, β
1
Intercept, γ
10
0.56 (0.08) 7.69 .000
Sex, γ
11
−0.11 (0.07) −1.50 .135
Code 1, γ
12
−0.11 (0.07) −1.49 .136
Code 2, γ
13
−0.14 (0.07) −2.07 .038
Collective self slope, β
2
Intercept, γ
20
0.06 (0.08) 0.77 .440
Sex, γ
21
−0.09 (0.07) −1.19 .235
Code 1, γ
22
0.05 (0.07) 0.69 .489
Code 2, γ
23
0.14 (0.07) 1.92 .055
NOTE: Sex = 0 for male, 1 for female participants. In dummy code 1, European Americans and Asian Americans were coded as 0 and African
Americans were coded as 1. In dummy code 2, European and African Americans were coded as 0 and Asian Americans were coded as 1. Thus,
code 1 represents the comparison between European Americans and African Americans, whereas code 2 represents the comparison between
European Americans and Asian Americans. Approximate df for this analysis was 117.
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 May 27.
... Contemporary times are witness to a major shift in researchers' focusing their attention now towards employee wellbeing and happiness instead of paying attention to disorders, disturbances, and negative human emotions. The search for happiness is essential, and understanding what makes employees content with their working lives is of growing importance (Diener, 2000;Klonowicz, 2001;Pavot, 2008;Oishi et al., 2008). Employee happiness is an important concern for contemporary organisations. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the state of happiness of Indian employees, identifies the antecedents of their happiness, and explores the correlates of their workplace happiness. It is based on a sample of 400 public sector employees belonging to the education, health, banking and manufacturing sectors in northern India. SPSS version 23 was used to analyse the collected data using descriptive and inferential statistical tests. Results indicate that most employees are contented with their happiness at work, but their overall happiness level is not very high. The studies findings reinforce that flow, intrinsic motivation and supportive organisational experiences are important contributors to employee happiness. The study results indicate that the type of family, income and years of experience significantly affect employee happiness. The study highlights the organisational interventions which can contribute to employee workplace happiness. This endeavour would also have important implications for the interpretation of the predictors of employee happiness.
... rientes solían vivir juntos y estar cerca, lo Se debe agregar además, para dimen-cual se acentuó cuando Latinoamérica se sionar el reto de definirla, que el signifi-apropió de los valores europeos orientados cado de felicidad para las personas camhacia el establecimiento de las relaciones bia según el periodo histórico, la nación, con la familia extensa. la cultura y la visión filosófica que tengan Estas circunstancias generaron so de la vida (Oishi, Koo, & Akimoto, 2008; ciedades en donde las relaciones centra Oishi, Graham, Kesebir, & Galinha, 2013). das en la familia y en los parientes eran Un ejemplo muy claro son los estudios en dominantes, desinteresadas, colaborati donde se comparan los índices de felicivas, con fuertes lazos afectivos, cercanas, dad entre naciones, en los cuales se pueagradables; lo cual configuró un estilo de den observar diferencias en los diferentes crianza cálido y relaciones interpersonales indicadores que conforman el constructo cercanas entre familiares y amigos, al mis de felicidad -por ejemplo, afecto positivo, mo tiempo que se volvía central la familia apoyo social, libertad de elección, entre extensa y nuclear como un contexto en donde se promueve el afecto y la mani-información sobre diversos temas, en el festación de emociones (Rojas, 2018). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
La ONU (2012) reconoció la felicidad y el bienestar como objetivos y aspiraciones universales en la vida de todos los seres humanos; y es que alcanzar estos estados positivos han sido una de las principales preocupaciones del hombre (Pawelski, 2013). Si bien la felicidad puede variar entre los individuos y las culturas (Rojas, 2018), no ha dejado de ser un objetivo final en todas las sociedades humanas (Oishi, Graham, Kesebir, & Galinha, 2013). Sin embargo, no fue sino hasta hace poco tiempo que la discusión sobre el papel de la felicidad en las naciones cobró relevancia en la agenda internacional (Mason-Meier & Chakrabarti, 2016), iniciando en Bután a través de la propuesta de la Felicidad Nacional Bruta como un indicador de desarrollo y progreso de un país (Tobgay, Dophu, Torres, & Na-Bangchang, 2011) y generando una tendencia internacional que ha influenciado las políticas en países como Reino Unido, Francia, Italia, Canadá o Australia solo por mencionar algunos (David, Boniwell, & Ayers, 2013). Y es que el tema resulta relevante para las naciones y la población en general, ya que asumirse como una persona feliz tiene muchos beneficios en diferentes dominios de la vida (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005). Debido a las consecuencias positivas de la felicidad y sus beneficios, el estudio científico de este fenómeno se torna relevante para explicar y comprender cómo, dónde y bajo qué circunstancias las personas se perciben, o no, como felices. La presente investigación se inserta en esta línea de estudio, busca generar un marco de comprensión para describir el papel que tiene la familia en la significación de lo que denominamos felicidad, para posteriormente analizar los resultados en relación con el papel que ésta puede jugar en las intervenciones psicoterapéuticas para incrementar el estado de bienestar subjetivo y psicológico de las personas. Investigación realizada gracias al Programa UNAM-PAPIIT con clave IA301416.
... Therefore, it provides a sound foundation for interpersonal relationships in a social network, when people comprehend and realize that "they are worthy of respect, of being heard and that their feelings and behaviors make sense" (Greenberg et al., 2001) because of the way others make them feel. It further elevates the feeling of satisfaction that leads to incredible consequences to engage and expand a social network (Oishi et al., 2008). Based on social value, the sense of feeling one gets from an empathetic individual identifies that a higher empathic individual will find it easier to form a social network than a less empathetic individual (Reis et al., 2004). ...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to address essential questions regarding social entrepreneurial intentions. Do traits such as perceived social impact, social worth and social network influence, social entrepreneurial intentions among the young populous generation of Pakistan? To get a deeper insight, this paper further raises questions regarding the relationship of these predictors and social entrepreneurial intentions with empathy which is considered as a key determinant and a distinguishing trait to become a social entrepreneur. Design/methodology/approach This paper involves a quantitative research design using a partial least square structural equation modeling approach to measure the effects of the structural model. For this, a cross-sectional survey was conducted with a purposive sample of 247 university students from Pakistan. Findings Results showed a positive relationship between antecedents and social entrepreneurial intentions. Overall analysis exhibited social worth as a dominant trait and social network as the least influencing trait to impact social entrepreneurial intentions. Practical implications It will help micro and macro-level policymakers including government officials and NGOs and educators to create awareness and provide support and encouragement to individuals who aim to initiate social enterprise. Originality/value The present study makes significant contributions to the social entrepreneurship literature, as it is one of the first academic studies on social entrepreneurial intentions in Pakistan. This paper enriches the theoretical foundation by assessing the influence of perceived social impact, social worth and social network on social entrepreneurial intentions. Also, the relationship of Empathy with each of these antecedents is examined for the first time in the social entrepreneurial intentions context which is a valuable contribution both theoretically and practically.
... Similarly, in scenarios where a positive reality fails to be shared-the partner believes the employee is callous or a jerk toward others at work when the employee in fact is not (Quadrant 3)-employees will likely feel distressed and misunderstood. This notion is supported by previous research finding that individuals are less happy when their interaction partner inaccurately perceives them (Oishi, Koo, & Akimoto, 2008), and are more anxious and depressed when their significant other misunderstands them (Abbey, Abramis, & Caplan, 1985). These arguments are also consis- ...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research demonstrates that depersonalization is harmful for employee outcomes. In addition, research is beginning to examine employees’ family context along with their experiences both at work and at home. We advance these literatures using shared reality theory as a foundation for investigating couples’ dyadic agreement surrounding employee depersonalization and its implications. Using polynomial regression and response surface methodology of data from employee‐significant other dyads, in Study 1, we find that agreement between partners on employee depersonalization is associated with lower work‐to‐family conflict (following general shared reality theory arguments) and increased subsequent recovery for the employee. In Study 2, we examine more specific shared reality theory arguments using the same analytic approach. We show that agreement between partners on employee depersonalization is associated with less distress and an increased perception that one's depersonalization is understood, and ultimately increased recovery for the employee via reductions in distress. Taken together, these results suggest the harmful effects of depersonalization are largely minimized if an employee's partner accurately recognizes their depersonalization. Interestingly, our collective results show it is better for employees to have agreement with their partners surrounding a high level of employee depersonalization than have low levels of depersonalization accompanied by disagreement. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... In Mahon et al. (2010) the study shows that there was no difference between male and female students in views about happiness, but a positive and meaningful difference between happiness and healthiness among all students in general. Yet in Oishi et al. (2010) the research shows that the emphasis on individual qualities will lead to one's happiness. In a study on students' behaviour healthiness, it was found out that the family's high support, school support and social support will lead the students to achieve their identity as well as independence, competency and self-awareness (Kelly et al., 2009). ...
... In Mahon et al. (2010) the study shows that there was no difference between male and female students in views about happiness, but a positive and meaningful difference between happiness and healthiness among all students in general. Yet in Oishi et al. (2010) the research shows that the emphasis on individual qualities will lead to one's happiness. In a study on students' behaviour healthiness, it was found out that the family's high support, school support and social support will lead the students to achieve their identity as well as independence, competency and self-awareness (Kelly et al., 2009). ...
... City level average satisfaction for job and family exert more than fourfold influence over the individual one; city-averages of economic conditions have slightly greater coefficients than the equivalent variables at the individual-level. Notice that satisfaction with social interactions examined on a group, such has with family and friends, is strongly related to cultural traits (Oishi et al., 2008). In this context, city-specific family and friend satisfaction can indeed represent some specific cultural aspects. ...
Article
The paper investigates how traits of cities explain subjective well-being and its subcomponents. Building up a happiness function, where life satisfaction is determined by satisfaction on life domains, the impact of city-level determinants of happiness is analyzed through a multilevel analysis. The results show that Italian cities have an effect on subjective well-being through different happiness domains. The relationship between the estimated coefficients of domain satisfactions and some relevant urban-context variables and amenities is then examined. This approach allows urban policy agendas to be designed around city-specific characteristics.
Article
It may be good to both be seen accurately (expressive accuracy) and feel that you are seen accurately (expressive accuracy beliefs). But do people's expressive accuracy beliefs align with their actual expressive accuracy? And do expressive accuracy and expressive accuracy beliefs each independently predict well-being? Across two getting-acquainted round-robin studies, expressive accuracy and expressive accuracy beliefs were positively associated, indicating that people were aware of whether they were viewed accurately both globally (Study 1), and with specific others (Study 2). Well-being was associated with greater expressive accuracy across studies, and with greater global expressive accuracy beliefs in Study 1. Thus, feeling and being seen accurately seem to go hand in hand, and to have independent links with well-being.
Article
The Brief Inventory of Thriving (BIT) was designed to measure a comprehensive construct of wellbeing beyond the traditional hedonia-versus-eudaimonia framework, highlighting the holism of human flourishing and functioning. This study evaluated the psychometric properties of the BIT in China. A total of 705 community participants and 251 college students completed the BIT, while the student sample also completed the Satisfaction with Life Scale, the Flourishing Scale, the Meaning in Life Questionnaire, the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule, and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale. Results demonstrated good internal consistency, strong and solid single-factor structure, and good convergent and discriminant validities. Furthermore, the screening role of BIT in mental health status and the incremental validity beyond other wellbeing measures were determined.
Article
We examined how lay beliefs about meaning in life relate to experiences of personal meaning. In Study 1 (N=406) meaning in life was perceived to be a common experience, but one that requires effort to attain, and these beliefs related to levels of meaning in life. Participants viewed their own lives as more meaningful than the average person’s, and technology as both creating challenges and providing supports for meaning. Study 2 (N=1,719) showed cross-country variation in levels of and beliefs about meaning across eight countries. However, social relationships and happiness were identified as the strongest sources of meaning in life consistently across countries. We discuss the value of lay beliefs for understanding meaning in life both within and across cultures.
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated whether self-concepts that arise from participation in interdependent cultural contexts, in this case the self-concepts of Japanese students, will be relatively more sensitive to situational variation than will self-concepts that arise in independent cultural contexts, in this case the self-concepts of U.S. college students. The self-concepts of 128 Japanese and 133 U.S. women were assessed in one of four distinct social situations: in a group, with a faculty member, with a peer, and alone in a research booth. Furthermore, the authors examined the hypothesis that Japanese self-concepts would differ from American self-concepts in valence, reflecting normative and desirable tendencies toward self-criticism. American and Japanese participants differed in the content, number, and range of self-descriptions. As predicted, the situation had a greater influence on the self-descriptions of the Japanese participants than on the Americans’ self-descriptions, and the self-descriptions of the Japanese were more negative.
Article
Full-text available
The authors investigated whether the lower self-enhancement found among Japanese is due to them being more accurate in their self-perceptions than Americans. Japanese and American participants were recruited from school clubs, where groups of five people rated each other and themselves. The Japanese sample was overall self-critical, whereas the American sample was overall self-enhancing. Moreover, as the desirability of the traits increased, Americans showed more self-enhancement, whereas Japanese showed more self-criticism. An accuracy account is unable to account for the cultural differences in self-enhancement because Americans showed more accuracy in their self-perceptions (as evidenced by self-peer agreement) than Japanese. Intracultural analyses further revealed that individual self-enhancement can be “unpackaged” by trait measures of independence and interdependence. Exploratory analyses of liking were also con ducted, revealing that American liking hinged on perceived similarity, self-verification, familiarity, and reflected-self-enhancement, whereas Japanese liking was based on familiarity, reflected self-enhancement, lower independence, and interdependence.
Conference Paper
All individuals have multiple views of themselves. Whereas the consistency among the different aspects of identity is emphasized in Western cultures, the "multiple selves" are often viewed as coexisting realities in East Asian cultures. This research revisits the classic thesis in psychology that identity consistency is a prerequisite condition of psychological well-being. Between individuals (Study 1), people with a more consistent self-view had a more clear self-knowledge, were more assertive, and, most notably, had self-experiences that were less affected by the perspectives of others. Compared with North American participants. (Study 2), Koreans viewed themselves more flexibly across situations, and their subjective well-being was less predictable from levels of identity consistency. Also, consistent individuals received positive social evaluations from others in the United States but not in Korea.
Article
Three studies examined cultural and situational influences on the tendency for people to use their current life satisfaction to predict future life events. On the basis of the self-enhancement literature, it was predicted that either writing about a positive personal experience or reading about another's negative experience would lead European Americans to focus their attention on internal attributes and thus would lead them to use their current life satisfaction in predicting the future. Conversely, on the basis of the self-criticism literature, it was predicted that these same conditions would lead Asian Americans to focus their attention on external factors and, therefore, would decrease their likelihood of using their current life satisfaction to predict the future. Studies 1 and 2 supported these hypotheses. Study 3 showed that these patterns could be obtained by subliminally priming concepts associated with individualism and collectivism.
Article
I examined the influence of cultural meaning systems on the perception of self among Japanese and American (United States) college students. Given the importance of social context to the Japanese self as compared with the U.S. self, I used two types of free-response format: the noncontextualized Twenty Statements Test (TST), and a contextualized questionnaire asking subjects to describe themselves in various situations. Consistent with prior research, on the TST Japanese subjects listed fewer abstract, psychological attributes than did American subjects, referring more to social role and behavioral context. On the contextualized format, however, this trend was reversed. Japanese scored higher on abstract, psychological attributes than did Americans, who tended to qualify their self-descriptions. In addition, on the TST Japanese surpassed Americans in the number of highly abstract, global self-references. Results point to the impact of divergent cultural conceptions of the person rather than differences in cognitive ability on the perception of self in these two cultures.
Article
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.
Article
Past research has shown that East Asians are more tolerant of apparent contradiction and tend to accept contradictory beliefs more readily than Americans. The present research examined through three studies whether such a dialectical tendency among East Asians also would be found in beliefs about the self. The results showed that in all three studies, Koreans displayed inconsistent beliefs about the self across contexts more than Americans. Unlike Americans, Koreans considered themselves more extroverted when asked how extroverted they were than when asked how introverted they were (Study 1). Koreans also exhibited less consistent beliefs about their relative standings on various personality dimensions than did Americans (Study 2). For example, Koreans evaluated their relative honesty differently when asked how honest they were than when asked how dishonest they were compared to their peers. Koreans also exhibited greater fluctuations in value preferences than did Americans (Study 3). Some implications of the present findings are discussed.