The impact of culture and identity on emotional reactions to insults

People from honor cultures show heightened emotional responses to insults to their social image. The current research investigates whether people from honor cultures also show heightened protection of social identities. We find that honor concerns may be embedded in some social identities but not others, and that those identities associated with honor concerns are defended more than identities not associated with honor. Three experiments investigated participants’ emotional responses to insults to their ethnic or student identity. Results showed that compared with dignity culture (British) participants, participants from an honor culture (Arab) reported stronger anger responses both across and within cultures when their Arab identity, an identity explicitly linked to honor concerns, was insulted. In contrast, responses did not differ between dignity (American) and honor (Arab) cultures when participants received an insult to their student identity, a non-honor-oriented identity. These findings suggest that overarching cultural values are not applied to all identities, and therefore, that cultural variables influence psychological outcomes differently for different identities.

Publication Date:
Mar 27 2017
Date Submitted:
Nov 30 2018
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology,

 Record created 2018-11-30, last modified 2019-04-03

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