Social Indicators Research

, Volume 118, Issue 3, pp 941–951 | Cite as

Life Satisfaction Judgments and Item-Order Effects Across Cultures

  • Masao SaekiEmail author
  • Shigehiro Oishi
  • Minha Lee
  • Takashi Maeno


We conducted two studies to investigate the item-order effect on life satisfaction judgments. In Study 1, Japanese and American participants completed various life-domain satisfaction items either before or after completing general life satisfaction items. American respondents weighed the best life domains more strongly than Japanese respondents, in particular when they answered domain satisfaction items before making life satisfaction judgments. Overall, Japanese tended to weigh the worst life domains more heavily when making life satisfaction judgments than Americans. We hypothesized that the Japanese patterns of life satisfaction judgments come from the chronic attention to others’ perspective. To examine this hypothesis in Study 2, Japanese participants were exposed to either the “other are not watching” or the “other are watching” manipulation. As expected, when Japanese participants were led to believe that “others are not watching,” they judged their overall life satisfaction based more heavily on the best life domains (like Americans in Study 1).


Item-order effect Life satisfaction judgments Culture Social judgments 



This research was supported in part by Grant in Aid for the Global Center of Excellence Program for “Center for Education and Research of Symbiotic, Safe and Secure System Design” from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, and Technology in Japan. We would like to thank Casey Eggleston, Thomas Talhelm, Felicity Miao, Matt Motyl, Jordan Axt, Yishan Xu, Naoki Nakazato, Naureen Mehdi, Yuxin Wang and Len Evanoff for providing invaluable comments on earlier versions of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masao Saeki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shigehiro Oishi
    • 2
  • Minha Lee
    • 2
  • Takashi Maeno
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of System Design and ManagementKeio UniversityYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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