Different selves, different values: Effects of self-construals on value activation and use



Three experiments demonstrated structural properties and dynamic effects of self-construal on the processing and use of values. In Study 1, it was found that self-focus during encoding caused spontaneous cognitive clustering of individualistic versus relational values. Study 2 demonstrated that self-construal affected the implicit weight of a value-related attribute in a multi-attribute choice task. In Study 3, behavioral intentions were better predicted by personal values than social norms when the personal self was primed, whereas social norms predicted better when the collective self was primed. The effects of manipulated self-construal were mimicked when comparing participants with an individualistic versus collectivistic cultural background. No interaction was found between priming and cultural background. Taken together, the studies demonstrated that different domains of the self are associated with different values, which may instigate different cognitive and behavioral processes when activated. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.