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Abstract

Previous research has shown that cultural values and individual preferences for uniqueness and conformity influence one another, and that a theme of uniqueness is prevalent within North American culture and a theme of conformity is prevalent within East Asian culture. The goal of the present research was to examine the causal role of self-construal by investigating whether priming participants with either independent or interdependent self-construal could lead to differences in choice patterns that mirror themes of uniqueness and conformity that is traditionally found between East Asian and North American cultures. It was hypothesized that participants primed with independent self-construal will show a preference for uniqueness and make an uncommon choice. In contrast, participants primed with the interdependent self-construal will show a preference for conformity and make a common choice. To test this hypothesis, 60 participants of varying cultural backgrounds were randomly assigned to either an independent self-construal prime condition or an interdependent self-construal prime condition. The choice of pens by participants was examined as a function of whether the pen appeared unique. The results are that there is no significant interaction between the prime conditions and choice. These results suggest that self-construals do not play a significant role in predicting participates’ choice patterns towards uniqueness and conformity.

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