Tactical self-enhancement in China: is modesty at the service of self-enhancement in East-Asian culture


Cai, Huajian, Sedikides, Constantine, Gaertner, Lowell, Carvallo, Mauricio, Xu, Yiyuan, O’Mara, Erin M. and Jackson, Lydia Eckstein Wang, Chenjun (2010) Tactical self-enhancement in China: is modesty at the service of self-enhancement in East-Asian culture. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 59-64. (doi:10.1177/1948550610376599).

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Description/Abstract

Is self-enhancement culturally universal or relativistic? This article highlights a nuanced dynamic in East Asian culture. Modesty is a prevailing norm in China. The authors hypothesized that because of socialization practices and prohibitive cultural pressures, modesty would be associated with and lead to low explicit self-enhancement but high implicit self-enhancement, that Chinese participants would deemphasize explicitly the positivity of the self when high on modesty or situationally prompted to behave modestly but would capitalize on their modest disposition or situationally induced behavior to emphasize implicitly the positivity of the self. In support of the hypotheses, dispositionally or situationally modest Chinese participants manifested low explicit self-esteem while manifesting high implicit self-esteem. Modesty among American participants constrained explicit self-esteem but yielded no associations with implicit self-esteem. The results showcase the tactical nature of self-enhancement in Chinese culture and call for research on when and how self-enhancement is pursued tactically in different cultures.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1948-5506 (print)
1948-5514 (electronic)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Human Wellbeing
ePrint ID: 170335
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2011 10:27
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:20
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/170335

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