Apparent Universality of Positive Implicit Self-Esteem

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study found that even though children from all East Asian countries outperformed American children, American students reported higher self-evaluation of their math and science abilities than did students from East Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Japan (Mullis, Martin, Gonzalez, & Chrostowski, 2004). Such cross-cultural differences in self-appraisal fit the stereotype of the modest East Asian and contribute to the received view that East Asians have less positive self-concepts than Americans. This view was summarized recently by Heine, Lehman, Markus, and Kitayama (1999) as follows: ‘‘The need for positive self-regard, as it is currently conceptualized, is not a universal, but rather is rooted in significant aspects of North American culture’’ (p. 766; but cf. Sedikides, Gaertner, & Vevea.
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