Cultural differences in the effects of attitudinal projection on opinion certainty : comparing Korean and American samples
This research examines how culture moderates the effect of attitude projection onto the family in terms of opinion certainty. Korean students and American students completed a measure of collectivism-individualism and a measure of family cohesiveness and then indicated their own attitude positions on eight topical issues. Next, each person estimated the positions of either his or her own family, or student peers at their home university, or college students from the respective out-group country. In a fourth condition, participants did not estimate the attitude positions of others. As expected, Koreans and Americans assumed attitude similarity to their family and to their student peers more than to college student out-group members. Also as expected, however, projection onto the family did not lead to an increase in opinion certainty among Korean participants. Only among American participants did attitude projection onto the family correlate with increases in opinion certainty. Despite confirmation of the predicted outcomes for opinion certainty, the additional process measures revealed unexpected findings. These measures showed that individualism predicted the opinion certainty of Koreans following projection onto the family. Only in the out-group projection condition was the opinion certainty of Korean participants correlated with their collectivism scores and their family cohesion scores. These findings are discussed in terms of (1) cultural orientations that influence personality and (2) methodological features of the present study that are typical of social projection research paradigms.