A cross-cultural study of preference of accounts: Relationship closeness, harm severity, and motives of account making

Ritsu Itoi, Ken Ichi Ohbuchi, Mitsuteru Fukuno

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    61 Citations (Scopus)


    We presented 174 American and 169 Japanese subjects with scenarios in which an actor unintentionally harmed someone. We asked them to rate the likelihood of each of 6 different account tactics and 3 motives of account making. Collectivists (Japanese) were found, compared with individualists (Americans), to show more preference for the mitigating accounts, such as apologies or excuses, but less the assertive accounts, such as justifications. The collectivists' mitigating style became distinguished, particularly when the participants were in-group members; and also gender differences were larger among collectivists than among individualists. Harm severity was an independent and powerful determinant of account choice: The causal analysis of the motives revealed that each account tactic was uniquely motivated, and that its supposed motivational process was quite similar between the two cultural groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)913-934
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 1996 May 16

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology

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