SELF-EFFACING ON PURPOSE: A CASE IN CHINESE CULTURE
Lin, C.C. and Yamaguchi, S., University of Tokyo, Japan
Previous research has provided mixed results concerning Chinese self- presentation. We argue that the goal of self-presentation was not manipulated appropriately in the previous research. To demonstrate the validity of our argument, we attempted to replicate Yamaguchi et al (2000)'s experiment, in which two dimensions in person perception, self- profitability and other-profitability, were distinguished based upon Peeters' (1983) definition. Self-profitable traits are related to the perceived adaptive value of the traits for the self, whereas other- profitable traits are related to the perceived adaptive value of the traits for others. In Chinese culture, as well as in other East Asian cultures, maintenance of interpersonal harmony is highly valued. Therefore, we hypothesized Chinese would tend to focus their attention on how much they can benefit others rather than themselves especially when making self- presentation. Thus, they would hesitate to present their self-profitable traits. To test this hypothesis, we conducted an experiment (Study 1), a replication of Yamaguchi et al. (2000). Taiwanese students were asked to rate themselves on self-profitable and other-profitable traits. In Self- Presentation condition, they were led to believe their ratings will be shown to other students as self-introduction, whereas no instruction concerning self-presentation was given in Control condition. The participants' self-report on both traits was examined. Results indicated Taiwanese students presented themselves as better-than-average only on other-profitable dimension in Self-Presentation condition. In Study 2, we investigated the degree of perceived importance of self-profitable traits and other-profitable traits used in Study 1. Results indicated Taiwanese students evaluated self-profitable traits as more important than other- profitable traits.