The authors contend that although people in both Eastern and Western cultures are motivated to make favorable self-evaluations, the actual likelihood of expressing favorable self-evaluations in a concrete situation depends on (a) the dominant self-presentation norms in the culture, (b) how salient the norm is in the immediate situation, and (c) the availability of normatively permissible means to make favorable self-evaluations. The authors tested this proposal in three studies. Study 1 showed that given the strong influence of the modesty norm in Eastern cultures, Chinese are more comfortable making favorable self-evaluations when evaluation apprehension pressure in the immediate situation is reduced. Furthermore, Studies 2 and 3 showed that Asian Americans and Chinese are more comfortable making favorable self-evaluations when they can do it indirectly by denying possession of negative traits than when they have to do it directly by claiming possession of positive traits. In contrast, among European Americans, given the relative weak influence of the modesty norm in their culture, they are equally comfortable with making favorable self-evaluations in public and private situations through affirmation of positive self-aspects and repudiation of negative self-aspects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Cultural Studies