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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2008 Mar;34(3):307-20. doi: 10.1177/0146167207311198.

Culture, interpersonal perceptions, and happiness in social interactions.

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Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22904-4400, USA.


The authors examined cultural differences in interpersonal processes associated with happiness felt in social interactions. In a false feedback experiment (Study 1a), they found that European Americans felt happier when their interaction partner perceived their personal self accurately, whereas Asian Americans felt happier when their interaction partner perceived their collective self accurately. In Study 1b, the authors further demonstrated that the results from Study 1a were not because of cultural differences in desirability of the traits used in Study 1a. In Studies 2 and 3, they used a 2-week event sampling method and replicated Study 1. Unlike Asian Americans, African Americans were not significantly different from European Americans in the predictors of happiness in social interactions. Together, this research shows that interpersonal affirmation of important aspects of the self leads to happiness and that cultural differences are likely to emerge from the emphasis placed on different aspects of the self.

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