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J Soc Psychol. 2009 Dec;149(6):677-93. doi: 10.1080/00224540903366800.

Culture and individuation: the role of norms and self-construals.

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  • 1Bates College, Department of Psychology, Lewiston, ME 04240, USA. hboucher@bates.edu


Despite mounting evidence that members of Asian cultures are less likely to engage in behavior that makes them appear distinctive (i.e., individuating behavior) than members of prototypical Western culture, the direct mechanisms through which this effect occurs have not been explored. In the present research, we examined the role of judgments of social appropriateness for both acceptance of and comfort engaging in individuating behavior, and the role of the divergent self-construals thought to characterize these cultural groups (i.e., Asian and Euro-Americans). Results indicated that ethnicity moderated the relationship between judgments of social appropriateness and acceptance of individuating behavior, and self-construals mediated the relationship between ethnicity and both acceptance of and comfort engaging in individuating behavior. Limitations and implications are discussed.

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