Journal article

How Much Is Enough in a Perfect World? Cultural Variation in Ideal Levels of Happiness, Pleasure, Freedom, Health, Self-Esteem, Longevity, and Intelligence

Matthew J Hornsey, Paul G Bain, Emily A Harris, Nadezhda Lebedeva, Emiko S Kashima, Yanjun Guan, Roberto Gonzalez, Sylvia Xiaohua Chen, Sheyla Blumen

PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE | SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC | Published : 2018

Abstract

The maximization principle-that people aspire to the highest possible level of something good if all practical constraints are removed-is a common yet untested assumption about human nature. We predict that in holistic cultures-where contradiction, change, and context are emphasized-ideal states of being for the self will be more moderate than in other cultures. In two studies ( Ns = 2,392 and 6,239), we asked this question: If participants could choose their ideal level of happiness, pleasure, freedom, health, self-esteem, longevity, and intelligence, what level would they choose? Consistent with predictions, results showed that maximization was less pronounced in holistic cultures; members..

View full abstract

Grants

Awarded by Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies


Awarded by Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Research


Funding Acknowledgements

Chilean data collection was supported by the Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (FONDAP15130009) and the Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Research (FONDAP15110006). Russian data collection was supported by a subsidy granted by the government of the Russian Federation for implementation of the Global Competitiveness Program.