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The Role Of Culture In Concepts Underlying Approach And Avoidance Motivation In Multiple Domains
Unsworth, Sara JDevos, ThierryConway, Frederick
x, 50 pages : illustrations
Approach motivation and avoidance motivation are two motivational systems that influence cognition, affect, and behavior. Approach motivation is the direction of behavior toward positive events, objects, and consequences. Avoidance motivation is the direction of behavior away from negative events, objects, and consequences. Previous research shows that East Asians are more likely than Westerners to be guided by avoidance motivation, and that Westerners are more likely than East Asians to be guided by approach motivation. However, little research has compared cultural patterns in different domains (e.g., social interaction, personal achievement). In addition, researchers have yet to examine approach/avoidance motivation when interacting with the natural environment and little research examined cultural differences in incentives and threats that underlie approach and avoidance motivation. The present research aimed to: (1) investigate cultural differences in approach and avoidance motivation across different domains, (2) explore cultural differences in concepts of incentives (i.e., positive stimuli) and threats (i.e., negative stimuli) underlying approach and avoidance motivation, and (3) examine implications of approach-avoidance motivation in nature for pro-environmental attitudes. Fifty-seven Chinese adults and 36 European American adults were recruited as participants. Participants completed surveys that included open-ended questions about concepts of threats and incentives underlying approach/avoidance motivation in different domains, and Likert scale ratings of motivation to approach and avoid these incentives and threats. Surveys also included a measure of approach and avoidance tendencies in which participants were asked to list goals in daily life. Scale measures were included to assess independent and interdependent self-construal, as well as orientations and attitudes toward the natural environment. Cultural background information was collected to determine cultural group membership. Overall, the results for cultural differences in approach vs. avoidance motivation were not consistent with previous research. There were no significant cultural differences in numbers of incentives and threats that participants listed or in approach- vs. avoidance-focused goals in daily life. There was a significant cultural difference in ratings of motivation related to incentives and threats, but the difference was in the opposite direction compared to previous research: Chinese participants were more approach-focused than European American participants. Although both Chinese and European American participants exhibited a more independent selfconstrual, interdependent self-construal was significantly negatively correlated with approach motivation for European American participants and was significantly positively correlated with avoidance motivation for Chinese participants, which is consistent with previous research. Concerning domain differences, both Chinese and European American participants exhibited stronger approach motivation in the personal achievement domain compared to the nature domain and the social interaction domain. In addition, there was an approachingsignificant interaction between culture and domain for concepts of incentives, such that Chinese participants were more likely than European American participants to provide a nature-related response as an incentive for interacting with the natural environment. Other results showed that there was greater overlap between egoistic (self-focused) and altruistic (other-focused) orientations toward nature for Chinese participants. For European American participants, a stronger tendency to protect the environment for others was associated with stronger avoidance motivation. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 36-39).
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2014
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