Monday, August 10, 2009

Happiness and unhappiness in east and west: Themes and variations

thanks to nicola for pointing out the following recent paper.

Happiness and unhappiness in east and west: Themes and variations
Uchida Y, Kitayama S.
Kokoro Research Center.
Emotion. 2009 Aug;9(4):441-56.
Cultural folk models of happiness and unhappiness are likely to have important bearings on social cognition and social behavior. At present, however, little is known about the nature of these models. Here, the authors systematically analyzed American and Japanese participants' spontaneously produced descriptions of the two emotions and observed, as predicted, that whereas Americans associated positive hedonic experience of happiness with personal achievement, Japanese associated it with social harmony. Furthermore, Japanese were more likely than Americans to mention both social disruption and transcendental reappraisal as features of happiness. As also predicted, unlike happiness, descriptions of unhappiness included various culture-specific coping actions: Whereas Americans focused on externalizing behavior (e.g., anger and aggression), Japanese highlighted transcendental reappraisal and self-improvement. Implications for research on culture and emotion are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved).

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