ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

›› 2010, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (01): 48-55.

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Culture and Socially Desirable Responding: An Individual-in-Society Perspective

Chi-yue CHIU;Zhi-Min ZOU;Sheng-Dong LIN   

  1. (1College of Business, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) (2Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, USA)
    (3Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China)
    (4Department of Advertisement, Xiamen University, Xiamen, 361005 China)
  • Received:2008-11-06 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2010-01-30 Online:2010-01-30
  • Contact: Chi-yue CHIU

Abstract: When dealing with cross-cultural differences in socially desirable responding, researchers often employ experimental and statistical control to isolate and eliminate the impact of socially desirable responding in the data. In this article, we offer a different approach to understanding socially desirable responding in cross-cultural research. In a review of the pertinent research literature, we posit that cross-cultural differences in socially desirable responses may reflect how people in different social conditions and their attendant cultural expectations develop different ways of expressing their self to support their personal strivings. This active negotiation between the society, culture and personal strivings is a defining issue in culture and psychology research. Artificially excluding the variance symptomatic of this process with experimental and statistical controls from cross-cultural data will generate results with little cultural significance. Therefore, we recommend against treating socially desirable responding as noise in cross-cultural research. Instead, we encourage cross-cultural researchers to seriously consider the social and cultural meanings of socially desirable responding, and use this phenomenon as a window to grasp the reciprocal influence of society, culture, and individual psychology.

Key words: socially desirable responding, cross-cultural research, self-deceptive enhancement, impression management