We need to learn about what derives others and us. We are motivated to pursue the things we wants
and don’t want. These are pretty much similar throughout different culture but the way we get access
to those nice rewards, the kinds of relationships we might find stimulating and our cultural
environment influences the ways by which we secure the respect of our peers considerably. The
decisions we make, involves trade offs (i.e. you decide to live a student life, rather the make money
right away for a final goal. These trade offs reflect how we value different outcomes and our values
intern are shaped great deal by culture.
Motivation for selfenhancement and selfesteem:
• There is a cultural different in hour people are motivated (teaching Japanese kids while being a
western. He gave them different motivation then Japanese professors).
• Selfenhancement is a motivation to focus on and elaborate more about one’s strengths and
positive characteristics than on one’s weaknesses and negative characteristics. Many studies
demonstrate that this is a powerful motivation that used to be viewed as universal. Crosscultural
research reveals that it’s a motivation that’s more pronounced in Western cultures than elsewhere.
• Most North Americans (93%) have high selfesteem.
• selfserving biase : Most North Americans view themselves in unrealistically positive (i.e. they
say their competence is in top 1% in skill/academics) terms. This is because they are motivated
to see themselves as positive. One thing that keeps these biases is that we rarely encounter any
concrete information in these domains. There is nothing to prove that we are not above average
( in other domains like height, weight, we can look around and immediately tell that I am below
average height or not and we are VERY ACCURATE based on this). But when no information is
present, we are VERY WRONG as we always turn the evidence in our favor. Most North
Americans use various selfesteem maintenance strategies to discount any negative feedback that
they might encounter. Remember: WEIRD participants are the majority so not sure if universal
but These includes:
• Downward comparison : comparing your performance with the performance with of someone
who is doing even worse then you are.
• Upward comparison : comparing your performance with the performance with of someone who
is doing BETTER then you are. ( not many people do this)
• Compensatory self enhancement : acknowledge that you got bad grade in class, but you are
good in an unrelated domain (i.e. or good athlete or you beat me in tennis but you can’t beat me
• Discounting : reducing the perceived importance of the domain in which you performed poorly
• External attribution : attributes the cause of your failure to something external (i.e. the exam
was made very poorly) vs. internal (I did bad because I didn’t study)
• Bask in the reflected glory: a successful group to which you belong and you emphasize your
connection to successfully performing others and feel better about ourselves by sharing in the
warm glory of other’s success ( we won vs they lost when your favorite team loses)
• Study MexicanAmericans vs EuropeanAmericans elementary students: both culture views
themselves more positively but EuroAmerican tended to view themselves more positive even at
this young age.
• Study Native American also view themselves more negatively when asked to describe
themselves. Thus both of these studies seems to suggest correlation between the independence
concept and selfenhancement (few exception exist)
• Such selfenhancing tendencies are so commonly found in North American samples (i.e. 93% vs.
55% Japs, USA people remember success more). These views are sustained by the ways people
attend to and interpret the world around them. In East Asian samples, in particular, there is little evidence for selfenhancing motivations. They do upward comparison more, less compensatory
selfenhancement, more internal attribution, more critical of them, exaggerate negative selfview.
Are there any other explanation as to why less selfenhancing.
• 1) East Asians do have same motivations like the western but biases in our research
methodologies prevent us from seeing this motivation. Like each Asians more likely to show
group enhancement rather then self (some studies do not agree with this in that USA more group
enhancement) . Their self critical view seems to be generalized even to objects (the endowment
effect): tendency to value objects more once they own them and have endowed them with their
own positive qualities (surprisingly this is more in American culture)
• 2) Asians value different set of traits from those that have been explored in research thus far and
if they were asked to evaluate themselves on these qualities then the cultural differences will be
• 3) Studies are not measuring people’s true feeling (i.e. Asian may just want to be modest and
agree with what you say). Seen when measured unconscious association between self and other
positive view (we then see no difference). Thus this suggests that they like themselves like the
westerners but when it comes to competence they are more selfcritical.
• How might all this selfenhancing motivations emerge? People might learn them as they grow up
in a particular culture (i.e. difference in child rearing American focus on success of child and said
self esteem is central to child’s development vs. Asian focus on past failures and no attention to
selfesteem. In sum, East Asians provide different opportunities for learning whether positive
selfviews are desirable or not. There is other explathtion as well.
• 1) Induidual self didn’t really emerge until the 16 century due to the rise of predestination: a
belief that before we are born, it had already been determined whether we were one of the
fortunate elect who would spend eternity in heaven. To tell if you are going to heaven you relied
on clues. Thus people began using the selfenhancing cues to comfort themselves that you are
going to heaven as you just got a sign from god.
• 2) There is also clear relationship between the rise of individualism and selfesteem. As the US
has become more induiduilistics so have the SE raise in the US collage students.
Motivations for face and selfimprovement
• Face: social value other give you if your live up to the standard associated with your positions.
The higher your social position, the greater the amount of face that is available to you (president
has high value vs normal worker). Thus, it matter more how others view your then you view
yourself. There are few characteristics of face:
• 1) More easily lost then gained (can’t increase it quickly unless you increase in companies
ranking and is lost when you fail to live up to expectations). You are always vulnerable as others
determine your face value. Thus you are more likely to follow the cautious approach (not acting
in ways that might lead other to reject them). This approach is also called prevention orientation
(you are preventing bad things from happening by focusing on your weaknesses like the Asians)
vs. promotion orientation (focus on the things you are good at to try to improve success. It is all
about securing the good things)
• Study: Canadians persisted longer on a task after given success (told randomly that you did well
in this task) then failure. Japanese persisted more when failed. This attitudes shows self
improvement: desire to seek out potential weakness and work on correcting them, is a strong
motivation in east Asians context ( it even effects our choice of leisure and parenting skills)
• 2) Character of face is that we are always concerned about how others are viewing us and face is
maintained when other views us positively. Thus we use prevention orientation and another
strategy is to present oneself in more enhancing ways like buying branded clothes and stuff thus
to achieve social recognition and status.
Religion and achievement motivations:
• Proposed by weber. He argued that human behavior is necessarily interwoven with meaning.
Events do not simply pinged themselves on us, it is our interpretation of what those events mean that motivates us to respond accordingly. He viewed capitalism to be derived from meaning from
particular cultural context specifically protestant reformation. Protestantism emerged as a reaction
to some perceived corruption in the medieval Catholic Church. It came up with many ideas and
one of them is individuals are capable of communication with god directly, thus no need for
church etc. and promoting individualism in a way.
• Arelated idea was “calling”: you have a purpose to fulfill in this world that is given to you by
god. You have unique skills to do that and you must find this skill. You must work hard to serve
god and it is your moral obligation to work hard (pope on the other hand said too much work
interferes with spiritual development). Work was vi