Who I am depends on how I feel: the role of affect in the expression of culture.

Published

Journal Article

We present a novel role of affect in the expression of culture. Four experiments tested whether individuals' affective states moderate the expression of culturally normative cognitions and behaviors. We consistently found that value expressions, self-construals, and behaviors were less consistent with cultural norms when individuals were experiencing positive rather than negative affect. Positive affect allowed individuals to explore novel thoughts and behaviors that departed from cultural constraints, whereas negative affect bound people to cultural norms. As a result, when Westerners experienced positive rather than negative affect, they valued self-expression less, showed a greater preference for objects that reflected conformity, viewed the self in more interdependent terms, and sat closer to other people. East Asians showed the reverse pattern for each of these measures, valuing and expressing individuality and independence more when experiencing positive than when experiencing negative affect. The results suggest that affect serves an important functional purpose of attuning individuals more or less closely to their cultural heritage.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ashton-James, CE; Maddux, WW; Galinsky, AD; Chartrand, TL

Published Date

  • March 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 340 - 346

PubMed ID

  • 19254240

Pubmed Central ID

  • 19254240

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-9280

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0956-7976

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02299.x

Language

  • eng