Spontaneous Self-Descriptions and Ethnic Identities in Individualistic and Collectivistic Cultures

Eun Rhee, James S. Uleman, Hoon K. Lee, Robert J. Roman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Twenty Statements Test (TST) was administered in Seoul and New York, to 454 students from 2 cultures that emphasize collectivism and individualism, respectively. Responses, coded into 33 categories, were classified as either abstract or specific and as either autonomous or social. These 2 dichotomies were more independent in Seoul than in New York. The New York sample included Asian Americans whose spontaneous social identities differed. They either never listed ethnicity-nationality on the TST, or listed it once or twice. Unidentified Asian Americans' self-concepts resembled Euro-Americans' self-concepts, and twice identified Asian Americans' self-concepts resembled Koreans' self-concepts, in both abstractness-specificity and autonomy-sociality. Differential acculturation did not account for these results. Implications for social identity, self-categorization, and acculturation theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-152
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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