The cultural psychology of control illusions of personal versus collective control in the United States and Japan

Susumu Yamaguchi, Michele Gelfand, Megumi M. Ohashi, Yuriko Zemba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)


This study focused on the cultural psychology of control in the United States and Japan. The authors tested a hypothesis that Japanese would tend to overestimate their ability to control their outcomes collectively compared to personally, whereas Americans would show the reverse tendency. As expected, Japanese participants in the group condition, relative to those in the individual condition, were more optimistic about obtaining a favorable outcome. American men, on the other hand, were more optimistic in the individual condition. Interestingly, similar to the Japanese participants, American women showed a reverse but nonsignificant tendency to be more optimistic in the group condition. These results indicate that the psychology of control is both gendered and cultured.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-761
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Nov
Externally publishedYes



  • Control orientation
  • Cross-cultural
  • Cultural psychology
  • Illusion of control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology

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