Empathy versus Pride: The Influence of Emotional Appeals across Cultures

Empathy versus Pride: The Influence of Emotional Appeals across Cultures

By
Jennifer Aaker, Patti Williams
Journal of Consumer Research. December
1998, Vol. 25, Issue 3, Pages 241-261

This research examines the persuasive effect of emotional appeals on members of collectivist versus individualist cultures. The results of two experiments demonstrate that ego-focused (e.g., pride, happiness) versus other-focused (e.g., empathy, peacefulness) emotional appeals had to more favorable attitudes for members of a collectivist culture, while other-focused versus ego-focused emotional appeals lead to more favorable attitudes for members of an individualist culture. Experiment 2 was conducted to examine the psychological mechanism underlying these effects. The results indicated that the generation of and elaboration on a relatively novel type of thought (individual thoughts for members of a collectivist culture, collective thoughts for members of an individualist culture) account for the persuasive effects found in this research. These results are interpreted within an ability-motivation framework, and theoretical implications involving cross-cultural persuasion effects are discussed.