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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2012 Apr;102(4):856-73. doi: 10.1037/a0026803. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Cultural differences in self- and other-evaluations and well-being: a study of European and Asian Canadians.

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Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Mississauga.


Anusic, Schimmack, Pinkus, and Lockwood (2009) developed the halo-alpha-beta (HAB) model to separate halo variance from variance due to valid personality traits and other sources of measurement error in self-ratings of personality. The authors used a twin-HAB model of self-ratings and ratings of a partner (friend or dating partner) to test several hypotheses about culture, evaluative biases in self- and other-perceptions, and well-being. Participants were friends or dating partners who reported on their own and their partner's personality and well-being (N = 906 students). European Canadians had higher general evaluative biases (GEB) than Asian Canadians. There were no cultural differences in self-enhancement or other-enhancement. GEB significantly predicted self-ratings of life satisfaction, but not informant ratings of well-being. GEB fully mediated the effect of culture on self-ratings of life satisfaction. The results suggest that North American culture encourages positive biases in self- and other-perceptions. These biases also influence self-ratings of life satisfaction but have a much weaker effect on informant ratings of life satisfaction. The implications of these findings for cultural differences in well-being are discussed.

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