Adherence to Emotion Norms Is Greater in Individualist Cultures Than in Collectivist Cultures

Allon Vishkin*, Shinobu Kitayama, Martha K. Berg, Ed Diener, Daphna Gross-Manos, Asher Ben-Arieh, Maya Tamir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


It is generally assumed that there is greater pressure to conform to social norms in collectivist cultures than in individualist cultures. However, most research on cultural differences in social norms has examined norms for behaviors. Here, we examine cultural differences in norms for emotions. Relative to members of collectivist cultures, members of individualist cultures are more attuned to internal states and value them more. Therefore, we predicted that adherence to emotion norms would be greater in individualist than in collectivist cultures. In four studies with 119 samples from 69 distinct countries and over 200,000 participants, we estimated adherence to emotion norms in different cultures, and how deviation from emotion norms is associated with life satisfaction. As predicted, in countries higher in individualism, emotional experiences of individuals were more homogenous and more concordant with the emotions of others in their culture. Furthermore, in more individualist countries, deviation from the mean emotional experience was linked to lower life satisfaction. We discuss two complementary mechanisms that may underlie such differences. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1256-1276
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant 119/20) to Allon Vishkin and by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant 2281/ 20) and the Artery Chair in Personality Studies Endowed by Goldberg, Geller, and Luria to Maya Tamir.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association


  • culture
  • emotion
  • norms
  • well-being


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