The added value of world views over self-views: Predicting modest behaviour in Eastern and Western cultures

Sylvia Xiaohua Chen, Jacky C.K. Ng, Emma E. Buchtel, Yanjun Guan, Hong Deng, Michael Harris Bond

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Personality research has been focused on different aspects of the self, including traits, attitudes, beliefs, goals, and motivation. These aspects of the self are used to explain and predict social behaviour. The present research assessed generalized beliefs about the world, termed ‘social axioms’ (Leung et al.,), and examined their additive power over beliefs about the self in explaining a communal behaviour, that is, modesty. Three studies predicted reported modest behaviour among Mainland Chinese, Hong Kong Chinese, East Asian Canadians, and European Canadians. In addition to self-reports in Studies 1 and 2, informant reports from participants’ parents and close friends were collected in Study 3 to construct a behavioural composite after examining the resulting multitrait–multimethod matrix and intraclass correlations. World views (operationalized as social axioms) explained additional variance in modest behaviour over and above self-views (operationalized as self-efficacy, self-construals, and trait modesty) in both Eastern and Western cultures. Variation in reports on three factors of modest behaviour was found across self-, parent, and friend perspectives, with significant differences across perspectives in self-effacement and other-enhancement, but not in avoidance of attention-seeking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-749
Number of pages27
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • culture
  • intraclass correlation
  • modest behaviour
  • multitrait–multimethod matrix
  • social axioms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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