The Divergences of Positive Illusions: Face and Dignity Cultures
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The Divergences of Positive Illusions: Face and Dignity Cultures

Abstract

Throughout centuries the topic of self-understanding has been attributed with great psychological importance, even tracing back to the ancient Greeks. Despite traditional support for accurate self-perception, Taylor and Brown published a radical study in 1988 attesting that those who maintained positive illusions about themselves experienced higher levels of psychological well-being. This controversial paper was put to the test not long after by other psychologists who criticized the ambiguity of Taylor and Brown’s methodology, and through a more polished testing found the exact opposite: higher levels of psychological disadvantage were exhibited by subjects who self-enhanced. The purpose of this review is to examine this elusive concept of positive illusions in a cross-cultural context, including the face cultures of the East and dignity cultures of the West. Furthermore, I will address a recent study accounting for the literature’s inconsistencies on positive illusions and conclude with direction for future research.

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