Assimilation and contrast effects: The role of self‐construal and regulatory focus as moderators in collectivistic cultures of honour

Rogelio Puente‐Díaz
Published Online:
20 Nov 2013
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 49 Issue 3

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Human judgments are context dependent. When answering a question about one's overall satisfaction with life, a previous question about one's romantic life might pose redundancy problems influencing one's judgment of life satisfaction, something known as item order effects. However, in order to detect such redundancy, one needs to pay attention to the context of the conversation. Any variable that influences the amount of attention given the context of the conversation can determine whether the presumed redundancy is detected or not. In three studies, two experiments and one correlational study, we tested the influence of induced self‐construal (study 1) and self‐regulatory focus (study 2) and self‐regulatory focus measured as an individual difference variable (study 3) as moderators of context effects among college students from Mexico. In study 1, participants induced to have an independent mindset were less likely to detect the redundancy posed by two questions, resulting, as predicted, in a contrast effect. In study 3, participants with lower levels of prevention focus were less likely to detect the redundancy posed by the same two questions as study 1, resulting, as predicted, in an assimilation effect. The implications of the results were discussed within the framework of the inclusion/exclusion model.

© 2013 International Union of Psychological Science