Different Perceptions of Modesty Expressions by East Asians and European Americans in Hawaii

Choi, Hye-yoon
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2016]
This study contends that different expressions of modesty can be perceived differently by people from different cultures. This study looked at how (a) self-denigration, (b) other-enhancement, and (c) combination of the two are evaluated differently by individuals in different cultures particularly in East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea) and Western cultures. It was hypothesized that self-denigration will be perceived more favorably by East Asians than Westerners. It was also hypothesized that while other-enhancement will be perceived more favorably than self-denigration in both cultures, Westerners will perceive it less positively when it is used in combination with self-denigration. The hypotheses were tested with European American and Korean participants recruited in Hawaii. Overall, the predicted cultural differences were not found. However, the result of the study suggests that certain expression of modesty is more positively perceived than others. The study found that individuals in both cultures rated other-enhancement most positively, which was followed by combination and self-denigration. As predicted, the evaluation of other-enhancement was undermined when it is used in combination with self-denigration. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
Expressions of Modesty, East Asia, West
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