Personal identity involves continuity of the inner or private self—the intimately familiar me—across time and place. Is this continuity experienced to a similar extent across cultures? East Asian cultures place greater moral emphasis than do Western cultures on the contextual adjustment of personal behavior. This adjustive focus translates into greater variation in the outwardly presented self across contexts, raising the question of whether the inner self is also experienced as less continuous or unchanging by East Asians. To examine this issue and its implications, we asked Canadian, Chinese, and Japanese students to answer a set of questions about the inner self and its behavioral expression. Their responses confirmed a weaker sense of continuity amongthe Chinese and Japanese but also revealed that socially appropriate expression of the innerself is valued and sought in all three countries. In addition, East Asians claimed to experience self-expression in fewer activity domains than did Canadians. Copyright © 2004 Western Washington University.
CitationTafarodi, R. W., Lo, C., Yamaguchi, S., Lee, W. W.-S., & Katsura, H. (2004). The inner-self in three countries. Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, 35, 97-117. doi: 10.1177/0022022103260462
- Personal identity
- Hong Kong