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“Express Yourself”: Culture and the Effect of Self-Expression on Choice


Whereas self-expression is valued in the United States, it is not privileged with such a cultural emphasis in East Asia. Four studies demonstrate the psychological implications of this cultural difference. Studies 1 and 2 found that European Americans value self-expression more than East Asians/East Asian Americans. Studies 3 and 4 examined the roles of expression in preference judgments. In Study 3, the expression of choice led European Americans but not East Asian Americans to be more invested in what they chose. Study 4 examined the connection between the value of expression and the effect of choice expression and showed that European Americans place greater emphasis on self-expression than East Asian Americans, and this difference explained the cultural difference in Study 3. This research highlights the importance of the cultural meanings of self-expression and the moderating role of cultural beliefs on the psychological effect of self-expression.

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