Life Satisfaction Judgments and Item-Order Effects Across Cultures
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).
KeywordsItem-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.
- Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Bateson, M., Nettle, D., & Roberts, G. (2006). Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting. Biology Letters, 2, 412–414.Google Scholar
- Duval, S., & Wicklund, R. A. (1972). A theory of objective self-awareness. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Heine, S. J., Kitayama, S., Lehman, D. R., Takata, T., Ide, E., Leung, C., et al. (2001). Divergent consequence of success and failure in Japan and North America: An investigation of self-improving motivations and malleable selves. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 599–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kitayama, S. (1997). Jiko to kanjo [Self and emotion]. Tokyo, Japan: Kyouritsu.Google Scholar
- Komiya, A., Oishi, S., & Lee, M. (2012). The social ecology of regret: Why do rural people regret over interpersonal events? A paper under review. Kobe, Japan: Kobe University.Google Scholar
- Schwarz, N., & Clore, G. L. (2007). Feelings and phenomenal experiences. In E. T. Higgins & A. Kruglanski (Eds.), Social psychology. A handbook of basic principles (2nd ed., pp. 385–407). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Smith, A. (1759/2011). The theory of moral sentiments. New York, NY: Empire Books.Google Scholar