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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Mar;84(3):569-81.

Cultural variations on optimistic and pessimistic bias for self versus a sibling: is there evidence for self-enhancement in the west and for self-criticism in the east when the referent group is specified?

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Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.


A culturally relevant framework was used to examine variations on optimistic and pessimistic bias in Westerners and Easterners. Study 1 showed that 136 European Americans compared with 159 Japanese were more likely to predict typical positive events to occur to self than to a sibling. The opposite pattern emerged in the prediction of typical negative events. Study 2 replicated these findings on the basis of predictions for atypical events in 175 European Americans and 130 Japanese. Across both studies, within-groups analyses indicated that European Americans held an optimistic bias in the prediction of positive and negative events, whereas Japanese held a pessimistic bias for negative events. These findings are taken to offer support for presumed cultural differences in self-enhancement and self-criticism between Westerners and Easterners, respectively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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