Not all collectivisms are equal: opposing preferences for ideal affect between East Asians and Mexicans. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous research has revealed differences in how people value and pursue positive affect in individualistic and collectivistic cultural contexts. Whereas Euro-Americans place greater value on high activation positive affect (HAP; e.g., excitement, enthusiasm, elation) than do Asian Americans and Hong Kong Chinese, the opposite is true for low activation positive affect (LAP; e.g., calmness, serenity, tranquility). Although the form of collectivism present in East Asia dictates that individuals control and subdue their emotional expressions so as to maintain harmonious relationships, the opposite norm emerges in Mexico and other Latin American countries, in that the cultural script of simpatía promotes harmony through the open and vibrant expression of positive emotion. Across two studies, we found that Mexicans display a pattern of HAP/LAP preference different from those from East Asian collectivistic cultures, endorsing HAP over LAP.


  • Ruby, Matthew B
  • Falk, Carl F
  • Heine, Steven J
  • Villa, Covadonga
  • Silberstein, Orly

publication date

  • 2012