People from the US and China Think about Their Personal and Collective Future Differently

Deng, W., Rosenblatt, A. K., Talhelm, T., & Putnam, A. L. (2022). People from the US and China Think About Their Personal and Collective Future Differently. Memory & Cognition.

62 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2022

See all articles by Will Deng

Will Deng

Furman University

Alexa Rosenblatt

Furman University

Thomas Talhelm

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Adam Putnam

Furman University

Date Written: July 6, 2022

Abstract

We investigated how people think about their personal life and their country by testing how participants in the US and China think about personal and collective events in the past and future. Using a fluency task, we replicated prior research in showing that participants in the US had a positivity bias towards their personal future and a negativity bias towards their country’s future. In contrast, participants in China did not display a positivity or negativity bias towards either their personal or collective future. This result suggests that the valence dissociation between personal and collective future thinking is not universal. Additionally, when people considered the past in addition to the future, they displayed similar valence patterns for both temporal periods, providing evidence that people think about the past and the future similarly. We suggest political and cultural differences (such as dialectical thought) as potential explanations for the differences between countries in future thinking and memory.

Keywords: memory, culture, collective memory, autobiographical memory, emotion

Suggested Citation

Deng, Will and Rosenblatt, Alexa and Talhelm, Thomas and Putnam, Adam, People from the US and China Think about Their Personal and Collective Future Differently (July 6, 2022). Deng, W., Rosenblatt, A. K., Talhelm, T., & Putnam, A. L. (2022). People from the US and China Think About Their Personal and Collective Future Differently. Memory & Cognition., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4155116 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4155116

Will Deng

Furman University ( email )

Greenville, SC
United States

Alexa Rosenblatt

Furman University ( email )

Greenville, SC
United States

Thomas Talhelm (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/directory/t/thomas-talhelm

Adam Putnam

Furman University ( email )

Greenville, SC
United States

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