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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1256-1276
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 10 Nov 2022


  • culture
  • emotion
  • norms
  • well-being

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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