In the pursuit of emotionally meaningful goals : when would the older East-Asians display or not to display the positivity effect?

Xin ZHANG, Yuen Wan HO*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Socioemotional selectivity theory postulates that as people age, their goals become more emotionally salient. Compared with younger adults, older adults prioritize positive information, which gives rise to the positivity effect. However, cross cultural research on self-construal suggests that the East Asian culture encourages people to maintain relational harmony. Thus, negative information may be as important as the positive one for older East Asians. Recent studies have started to support this view and challenge the universality of positivity effect. In this chapter, we suggest that culture norm hypothesis, affect valuation theory and naive dialecticism may help explain such divergence. Definition and meaning of the positivity effect may be subjected to cultural interpretations. Finally, implications of the observed cross-cultural differences in the positivity effect and its relation to emotional well-being are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSuccessful aging : Asian perspectives
EditorsSheung-Tak CHEUNG, Iris CHI, Helene H. FUNG, Lydia W. LI, Jean WOO
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Pages283-300
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789401793315
ISBN (Print)9789401793308
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This chapter is partially supported by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council General Research Fund CUHK442813, as well as a Chinese University of Hong Kong Direct Grant, to Helene Fung.

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Older East-Asians
  • Positivity effect

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