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

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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

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Cai, Huajian, Sedikides, Constantine, Gaertner, Lowell, Wang, Chenjun, Carvallo, Mauricio, Xu, Yiyuan, O’Mara, Erin M. and Jackson, Lydia Eckstein (2011) Tactical self-enhancement in China: is modesty at the service of self-enhancement in East-Asian culture? Social Psychological and Personality Science, pp. 59-64. (doi:10.1177/1948550610376599).

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Published date: 2011


Local EPrints ID: 176731
ISSN: 1948-5506
PURE UUID: c76e278e-475b-414f-9c0d-67fcab57d3e7

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Date deposited: 10 Mar 2011 15:09
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:07

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Author: Huajian Cai
Author: Lowell Gaertner
Author: Chenjun Wang
Author: Mauricio Carvallo
Author: Yiyuan Xu
Author: Erin M. O’Mara
Author: Lydia Eckstein Jackson

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