The Perceived Utility of Emotions: A Comparison of Two Collectivist Cultures
Cross-cultural differences in emotion have typically been explained by varianceon the dimension of individualism-collectivism. However, studies comparing collectivistcultures (e.g., China and Mexico) suggest that they differ in actual and ideal affect. Thecurrent study examined whether these differences would be observed with respect toperceived affect utility (the extent to which emotions are considered to be helpful forachieving goals), and whether these differences would be mediated by other dimensionsof culture, such as indulgence and long-term orientation. The study found that Mexicansperceived positive and low arousal positive emotions as more useful, and negativeemotions as less useful, compared to Chinese. No differences were found between thecultures for high arousal positive emotions. Mexicans were found to score higher thanChinese on long-term orientation; no differences were found between the cultures onindulgence. Neither long-term orientation nor indulgence was found to mediate therelationship between culture and perceived affect utility. These results support previousfindings that collectivist cultures differ in their valuing of emotions, and signal the needfor investigation of other dimensions of culture that may play a role.
NotesDegree Awarded: M.A. Psychology. American University
Degree grantorAmerican University. Department of Psychology