Cultural Differences in Compliments
Cultural differences in compliments were examined across five studies. The results are consistent with cultural differences in self-enhancement and self-criticism and suggest that compliment responses may reflect underlying differences in self-views. Asian golfers were less accepting and more rejecting of compliments about a tournament win than European golfers (Study 1). Cultural differences in responses to compliments about close others were found to mirror those about the self. Asian Canadian mothers were less accepting and more rejecting of compliments about their children than were European Canadian mothers (Study 2). Study 3 examined cultural differences in response to compliments that focus on natural ability (person-praise) versus those that focus on effort (process-praise). European Canadians were more accepting and less rejecting of person-praise compliments about their basketball shooting ability than Asian Canadians, whereas no differences were found in responses to process-praise compliments. Cultural differences in giving compliments were examined using both cultural artifacts (Study 4) and self-report (Study 5). The results are consistent with previous research on differences in implicit theories of ability. Chinese graduation cards contained more process- than person-praise compliments, whereas the reverse was true of American cards (Study 4). Chinese parents indicated that they would be more likely to select and Chinese students indicated that they would be more likely to receive graduation card messages containing process- versus person-praise compliments (Study 5). American parents and students showed no effects of type of compliment.