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Keywords:

  • culture;
  • display rules;
  • individual differences;
  • mediation;
  • self-deceptive enhancement;
  • socially desirable responding

Socially desirable responding was tested as a mediator of American and Japanese college student differences in display rules. Americans endorsed the expression of anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, and surprise more than the Japanese. Americans also exhibited more self-deceptive enhancement than the Japanese, and self-deceptive enhancement partially mediated country differences on the endorsement of anger, disgust, happiness, and surprise, but not contempt and fear. These findings highlight the role of self-deceptive enhancement in contributing to expressive display rules and support the point of view that socially desirable responding is a reflection of one's personality and culture rather than a statistical nuisance.