The question of whether or not the need for self-enhancement is culturally universal has been a controversial issue in cultural psychology. Though there have been numerous studies arguing that East Asians also have the need for self-enhancement, the controversy remained. We contend that the field is ready to see a cohesive theory that integrates and explains when and why East Asians do and do not manifest their need for self-enhancement. In this paper, we provide the theoretical logics of and rationales behind face and dignity cultures as the new theoretical proxies that integrate and explain East Asians' self-enhancing behaviors, supplementing the former approach that uses the individualism-collectivism dichotomy. In particular, four representative properties of face culture — humility, public (versus private) concern, prevention regulatory focus, and harmony — are discussed to explain cross-cultural differences in the extent and ways of manifestations of self-enhancement motivation between European Americans and East Asians. Theoretical corroborations and empirical findings supporting this approach are also discussed.
Asian Studies | Multicultural Psychology | Social Psychology
Social and Personality Psychology Compass
LEE, Hae In, LEUNG, Angela K. Y., & KIM, Young-Hoon.(2014). Unpacking East-West differences in the extent of self-enhancement from the perspective of face versus dignity cultures. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 8(7), 314-327.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/1572
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