The proposed project explores the hypothesis that cultures foster different conceptions and consequences of advice. Much of the previous work documenting the benefits and costs of advice has been conducted in cultural contexts that place emphasis on personal independence and competence (e.g., Western Europe, North America), or on "face" and interpersonal harmony (e.g., East Asia). The potential costs of advice may be particularly high in these cultures. Conversely, advice may be perceived more positively in cultural contexts that place emphasis on collectively solving practical problems (e.g., Russian and African American cultures). The goal of this research project, conducted by the team of investigators from Georgetown University (Yulia Chentsova Dutton) and (Purdue University (Erina MacGeorge), is to examine cultural similarities and differences in responses to advice. In two studies, they examine how individuals from four cultures (European Americans, Chinese, Russians, and African Americans) perceive advice and respond to it in their daily lives and in the laboratory. The first study will use a daily diary method to examine how often individuals living in the United States (European Americans, Asian Americans, Russian Americans and African Americans), China and Russia give and receive advice, and how they perceive these interactions. The second study will examine supportive interactions between friends recorded in a laboratory setting, comparing how European Americans, Asian Americans, Russian Americans and African Americans give and respond to advice. Taken together, these studies will allow the researchers to shed light on the psychological and cultural variables that shape individuals' perceptions of and responses to advice.
As our society becomes increasingly multicultural, it is important to understand how to effectively communicate information and provide support to individuals from diverse cultural groups and thereby prevent cross-cultural communication breakdowns. Because advice serves as a key social regulation strategy for individuals' motivation, decision-making, and action, the proposed project will have broad implications for provision of information and support in a variety of domains, such as educational and organizational settings and human services.