Cultural differences in psychological reactance: responding to social media censorship
Ng, Andy H. and Kermani, Mohammad S. and Lalonde, Richard N. (2019) Cultural differences in psychological reactance: responding to social media censorship. Current Psychology . ISSN 1046-1310 (Print) 1936-4733 (Online) Published Online First http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12144-019-00213-0
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12144-019-00213-0
In this research, we examined cultural differences in psychological reactance in response to a threat of social media censorship among two collectivistic cultural groups (East Asian Canadians, Iranian Canadians) and one individualistic cultural group (European Canadians). Results indicated that, compared with European Canadians and East Asian Canadians, Iranian Canadians exhibited psychological reactance to a greater degree when the threat came from the government. This cultural difference was mediated by direct and indirect experience with censorship but not independent vs. interdependent self-construal. When the threat came from a student, however, there were no cultural differences in psychological reactance. These results are consistent with the notion that Iranians have more salient experiences with restriction of information access, and thus have a heightened sensitivity to the freedom threat of social media censorship when it came from a powerful source. This research highlights the importance of going beyond self-construal when analyzing cultural variations in psychological reactance.
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