We like you better when we feel good about ourselves: Group-affirmation in an international context

Eun Bin Chung, Byungwon Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


How do countries with a history of conflict and colonialism overcome animosity? Despite thick economic interdependence and societal contact, problems of memory remains in Northeast Asia, as negative images spawning from past interactions continue to inhibit improvement in perceptions of other states. Riots exhibit anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea, Japan is taking an increasingly conservative hardline, and with a rising China, the chronic antagonism in the region could take a turn for the worse. We borrow from the social-psychological theory of group-affirmation and apply it to an international context to hypothesize that reflecting upon pride of national membership can improve perceptions toward others. Utilizing survey data collected during 2007 to 2012 from 7200 South Koreans, we find that group members who reported to be prouder to be Korean held more positive perceptions of other countries as a potential ally to cooperate with. The implications of the study propose a more realistic route to cooperation than an erosion of national identities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-421
Number of pages35
JournalKorea Observer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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