Conceptions of the self in two cultures

Participants from two different cultural backgrounds were assessed and compared on two dimensions of self-construal: closeness and self size relation. Data were collected from University students in Japan (N=86) and the United States (N=84), with a total sample size of 170. Participants selected one of fifteen different circle pairs labeled ?Self? and ?Other.? The circle pairs varied in degree of overlap between ?Self? and ?Other,? as an indication of closeness. The two circles also varied in relational size, as an indication of self size relation. Results showed an overall significant difference for self size relation scores but not for closeness scores between the Japanese and American participants. Japanese participants perceived themselves to be smaller in size than others overall and American participants perceived themselves to be equal in size to others overall. When examined by target, the Japanese sample differed from the American sample on self size relation scores for parents and for strangers but not for friends. The Japanese sample differed from the American sample on closeness scores only for friends and not for parents or strangers. These results imply that the two components of self size relation and closeness can be detected via our Circles of Closeness scale when examined on the basis of the targets parents, friends, and strangers.