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October 2021

Deviance or uniqueness, harmony or conformity? A cultural analysis

Author(s): Markus, H. R.

Journal/Book: J Personal Soc Psychol. 1999; 77: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 785-800.

Abstract: Uniqueness has positive connotations of freedom and independence in American culture, whereas conformity has positive connotations of connectedness and harmony in East Asian culture. The present research examined how these cultural values and individual preferences for uniqueness and conformity influence each other. In Studies 1 and 2, East Asian and European American preferences for uniqueness were measured using abstract figures. In Study 3, the choice of pens by East Asians and European Americans was examined as a function of whether the pen appeared unique. In Study 4, Korean and American magazine ads were analyzed with a focus on themes of conformity and uniqueness. In all studies, East Asians preferred targets that represented conformity, whereas European Americans preferred targets that represented uniqueness. The results highlight the relationship between individual preference and the adaption and perpetuation of cultural values.

Note: Article Kim H, Stanford Univ, Dept Psychol, Jordan Hall, Bldg 420, Stanford,CA 94305 USA

Keyword(s): ADVERTISING APPEALS; SELF-ENHANCEMENT; UNITED-STATES; CHINESE; CONSTRUCTION; AMERICAN; JAPAN; INDIVIDUALISM; PSYCHOLOGIES; COGNITION


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