Is the Use of Averaging in Advice Taking Modulated by Culture?

Journal of Cognition and Culture, Forthcoming

23 Pages Posted: 2 May 2012  

Hugo Mercier

University of Neuchatel

Hiroshi Yama

Osaka City University

Yayoi Kawasaki

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kuniko Adachi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jean-Baptiste Van der Henst

CNRS

Date Written: May 2, 2012

Abstract

Many recent experiments have explored the way people take advice into account. It has been observed that in so doing participants often rely on one of the two following strategies: averaging between the different opinions or choosing one of the opinions, as opposed to using more complex weighting strategies. While several factors that affect strategy choice have been investigated, no attention has been paid to potential cultural variations. Among the many relevant cross-cultural differences, results have show that Easterners tend to favor compromise more than Westerners, a difference that could translate into a greater preference for averaging in Eastern population. In Experiment 1, we confronted Japanese and French participants to two pieces of advice and asked them to form an aggregate answer. In Experiments 2, participants had to aggregate their own opinion and a piece of advice. In neither of the experiments were the Japanese more likely to use averaging than the French. Explanations for this robust absence of difference are suggested. The only difference that emerged was that the Japanese were more likely to choose the advice and less likely to choose their own answer than the French. Different interpretations of this result are discussed, including the possibility that it is an artifact of a theoretically irrelevant difference between the populations under study.

Keywords: advice, culture, averaging

Suggested Citation

Mercier, Hugo and Yama, Hiroshi and Kawasaki, Yayoi and Adachi, Kuniko and Van der Henst, Jean-Baptiste, Is the Use of Averaging in Advice Taking Modulated by Culture? (May 2, 2012). Journal of Cognition and Culture, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2049770

Hugo Mercier (Contact Author)

University of Neuchatel ( email )

Espace Louis Agassiz 1
Neuch√Ętel, 2000
Switzerland

Hiroshi Yama

Osaka City University ( email )

3-3-138, Sugimoto
Sumiyoshi-ku
Osaka 558-8585
United States

Yayoi Kawasaki

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Kuniko Adachi

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Jean-Baptiste Van der Henst

CNRS ( email )

3, rue Michel-Ange
Paris, 75794
France

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