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'I' Value Freedom, but 'We' Value Relationships: Self-construal Priming Mirrors Cultural Differences in Judgment, Psychological Science


A robust difference between Western and Eastern cultures is the extent to which the self is construed in an independent or interdependent fashion. Indeed, the distinction between these types of self-construal has been hypothesized to be a driving force in shaping cultural differences in world-views and social behavior (Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Triandis, 1989). The current studies provide a unique test of this hypothesis by investigating whether the situational activation of independent or interdependent self-construals within a culture could result in differences in psychological world-view that mirror those traditionally found between cultures. In Experiment 1, European-American participants primed with interdependence displayed congruent shifts in social values and judgments that were mediated by corresponding shifts in self-construal. Experiment 2 extended this effect by showing that students from both the U.S. and Hong Kong were more strongly affected by primes that were inconsistent with their predominant cultural world-view, and thus shifted self-construal to a greater degree.




Wendi Gardner, Shira Gabriel, Angela Y. Lee

Date Published



Gardner, Wendi, Shira Gabriel, and Angela Y. Lee. 1999. 'I' Value Freedom, but 'We' Value Relationships: Self-construal Priming Mirrors Cultural Differences in Judgment. Psychological Science.(4): 321-326.


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