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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2007 Jun;92(6):1118-34.

Culture, gender, and the self: variations and impact of social comparison processes.

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Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France.


Psychological differences between women and men, far from being invariant as a biological explanation would suggest, fluctuate in magnitude across cultures. Moreover, contrary to the implications of some theoretical perspectives, gender differences in personality, values, and emotions are not smaller, but larger, in American and European cultures, in which greater progress has been made toward gender equality. This research on gender differences in self-construals involving 950 participants from 5 nations/cultures (France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United States, and Malaysia) illustrates how variations in social comparison processes across cultures can explain why gender differences are stronger in Western cultures. Gender differences in the self are a product of self-stereotyping, which occurs when between-gender social comparisons are made. These social comparisons are more likely, and exert a greater impact, in Western nations. Both correlational and experimental evidence supports this explanation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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