Expressive Interdependence in Latin America: A Colombia, U.S., and Japan Comparison

Journal Article

Latin America forms a unique cultural region that is understudied in the current psychology literature. Here, we tested the hypothesis that Latin American cultures have cultivated expressive interdependence, thereby sanctioning the expression of socially engaging emotions to achieve interdependence with others. Latin American cultures may therefore be distinct from East Asian cultures, where emotion-suppression is used to promote interdependence, and European American cultures, where emotion expression is used to promote independence. We tested Colombian, Japanese, and European American young adults (total N = 550) with a set of 10 measures. We assessed features deemed core of interdependence (holistic cognition and social happiness) and features that we propose are culturally variable or subsidiary (emotional expressivity and self-assertion). In one of the core features (holistic cognition), Colombians were as interdependent as Japanese, and more so than European Americans. Curiously, the measure of social happiness, the other putative core feature, showed an unexpected pattern. Unlike Japanese happiness, Colombian happiness was dependent more on disengagement (e.g., self-esteem) than on engagement (e.g., closeness with others), similar to European Americans. Of importance, the subsidiary features differentiated the groups. Colombians were more emotionally expressive than Japanese, to a similar extent as European Americans. However, unlike European Americans, but similar to Japanese, Colombians reportedly expressed more socially engaging rather than disengaging emotions. Lastly, similar to European Americans, Colombians were more self-assertive than Japanese. Our findings offer evidence for the cultural profile of expressive interdependence in Latin America. Implications for theories of culture are discussed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Salvador, C; Carlier, SI; Ishii, K; Castillo, CT; Nanakdewa, K; Savani, K; Alvaro, SM; Kitayama, S

Published By

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.31234/