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The Affective Basis of Attributional Processes among Japanese and Americans

Herman W. Smith, Takanori Matsuno and Shuuichirou Ike
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 64, No. 2 (Jun., 2001), pp. 180-194
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3090132
Page Count: 15
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The Affective Basis of Attributional Processes among Japanese and Americans
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Abstract

This paper expands the trait attribution literature through a comparison of Japanese and American models that link personal modifiers (emotions, trait dispositions, and status characteristics) with role-identities. We deduce several principles, or heuristics, that underlie American attributional processes. In contrast, the Japanese equations developed in this study suggest three broad principles differentiating Japanese from American heuristics. First, Japanese women and men use distinctly gendered heuristics, while Americans do not. Second, Japanese use different heuristics to process emotional expression, trait dispositions, and status characteristics; Americans do not. Third, Japanese are much more attuned to situational context than are Americans. Thus affect control theory would suggest that Japanese and Americans subjectively appraise situations differently in order to confirm their definitions of the situation and to reconstruct disconfirming information through reidentifications and attributions.

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