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Cultural Shaping of Self, Emotion, and Well-Being: How Does It Work?



In this paper, we review the existent literature to propose that (i) different cultures have distinct views of self, which are instrumental in organizing daily routines, practices, and public meanings, (ii) the resulting behavioral environment shapes personal motivational propensities, (iii) the behavioral environment also carries information about normative expectations about what it is to be a ‘good’ person, and, as a consequence, (iv) culture has substantive influences on emotion, well-being, and health. In making this proposal, we highlight the distinction between personal motivational propensities and the society's normative expectations. The consequences of the cultural views of self on personal motivational propensities and those on the society's normative expectations may typically be concordant and, yet, the concordance can be disrupted especially at times of rapid social change. Directions for future research on culture, emotion, and well-being are discussed.