Ishii, K. (石井敬子), & Eisen, C. (カリス・アイゼン) (2018).
Cultural similarities and differences in social discounting: The mediating role of harmony-seeking.
Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1426.
One’s generosity to others declines as a function of social distance, which is known as social discounting. We examined cultural similarities and differences in social discounting and the mediating roles of the two aspects of interdependence (self-expression and distinctiveness of the self) as well as the two aspects of independence (harmony-seeking and rejection avoidance). Using the same procedure that previous researchers used to test North Americans, Study 1 showed that compared to North Americans, Japanese discount more steeply a partner’s outcomes compared to their own future outcomes, whereas the decrease in the subjective value of the partner’s outcomes accelerates less as a function of social distance. To examine the cultural similarities and differences in social discounting in more detail, Study 2 tested Japanese and Germans and found that the hyperbolic with exponent model fitted the participants’ discounting behaviors better than the other models, except for the loss condition in Germans where the utility of the q-exponential model was indicated. Moreover, although the social discounting rate was higher in Japanese than in Germans, the cultural difference was limited to the gain frame. However, the decline in a person’s generosity accelerated less as a function of social distance in Japanese than in Germans. Furthermore, the cultural difference in the social discounting in gains was mediated by the level of harmony-seeking, which was higher in Germans than in Japanese. Implications for individuals’ generosity against the backdrop of cultural characteristics are discussed.