Date of Submission

Fall 2010

Academic Program



Professors Kristin Lane and Barbara Luka

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The present study addresses a controversy in social psychology research regarding the applicability of general theoretical concepts like collectivism and individualism to describe cultural difference between large populations of individuals in the West and in Pacific Asia. Specifically, I explore whether differences between Chinese and American participants’ self-concepts that have been observed in data from explicit measures and experimental procedures are also present in evidence from implicit measures and research materials. Thirty-three Chinese and American participants were randomly assigned to either complete a task that implicitly affirmed their individual identity or a task that explicitly affirmed their individual identity. It was hypothesized that while explicit self-affirmation would only significantly bolster only American participants’ self-regard, implicit self-affirmation would affect American and Chinese participants equivalently. The effects of the two forms of self-affirmation were measured using the Implicit Association Task (IAT), which provided a measure of the extent to which the affirmation was effective at reducing participants’ age-related stereotypes. Because the experiment was conducted in both China and the US, the effect of cultural context on participants’ responses was also examined. The resulting data suggest partial support for the research hypotheses. There was a significant main effect of type of affirmation, and there was no significant difference between American and Chinese participants’ responses in the implicit condition. Implications, methodological improvements, and directions for future research are discussed.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.