Why the better-than-average effect is a worse-than-average measure of self-enhancement: An investigation of conflicting findings from studies of East Asian self-evaluations
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A recent meta-analysis on cross-cultural studies of self-enhancement finds that evidence for East Asian selfenhancement is consistently apparent only in studies where participants compare themselves to the average other, aka the ‘‘Better-than-Average’’ Effect (BAE). However, prior research has suggested that the BAE may conflate motivations to view the self in a positive light with nonmotivational factors, such as a tendency to evaluate ‘‘everyone as better than average’’ [EBTA; Klar Y, Gilladi EE (1997) J Personal Soc Psychol 73:885–901]. In two studies, European-Canadian, Asian-Canadian, and Japanese students were asked to evaluate themselves as well as a fictitious student compared to the average. Replicating prior research, evidence for Japanese self-enhancement was found with the BAE, albeit weaker than Canadians. However, in the measures where the EBTA effect was circumvented, self-enhancement was no longer evident among Japanese. Likewise, within the BAE method, prior research has found that East Asians self-enhance more for important than unimportant traits. When the EBTA effect was circumvented this correlation was also significantly reduced. Findings from this research converge with other sources of evidence that East Asians do not appear to be motivated to self-enhance.
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Heine, S.; Hamamura, Takeshi (2007)meta-analysis of published cross-cultural studies of self-enhancement reveals pervasive and pronounced differences between East Asians and Westerners. Across 91 comparisons, the average cross-cultural effect was d = .84. ...
Inclusion of additional studies yields different conclusions: Comment on Sedikides, Gaertner, & Vevea (2005), Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyHeine, S.; Kitayama, S.; Hamamura, Takeshi (2007)In a Journal of Personality and Social Psychology article, Sedikides, Gaertner and Vevea (2005) presented two meta-analyses that included eight papers to investigate the question of whether people from Eastern cultures ...
Which studies test whether self-enhancement is pancultural? Reply to Sedikides, Gaertner, and Vevea, 2007Heine, S.; Kitayama, S.; Hamamura, Takeshi (2007)What types of studies test the question of pancultural self-enhancement? Sedikides, Gaertner, and Vevea (2007) have identified inclusion criteria that largely limit the question to studies of the better-than-average effect ...