Culture, autobiographical memory, and behavioral frequency reports: Measurement issues in cross-cultural studies

Examined the difference in perception of own and others' behavior between Chinese and American respondents. Chinese and American college students were asked to indicate their rate of participation in observable and unobservable behaviors. In addition, other Ss were asked to rate the ease of observability of the behaviors. Ss were equally likely to rely on response scales as a frame of reference in estimating the frequencies of unobservable behaviors, for which people have little episodic knowledge. Moreover, both drew on information extracted from the scales in making comparative judgments involving the self. Chinese respondents, however, were less influenced by the response alternatives than were Americans for observable behaviors, both in their behavioral reports and comparative judgments. The authors suggest that this occurred because members of collectivist societies attend closely to their own and others' behaviors to ensure smooth social functioning, resulting in memories for behaviors that Americans can only estimate. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)