Date of Award

December 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Leonard S. Newman


Face, Feedback, Interpersonal context, Self-construal, Self-serving

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Using a newly developed perspective provided by cross-cultural research, the concept of face, I conducted three experiments to examine the impact self-construal, feedback source and interpersonal contexts have on one’s reactions to negative self-relevant information. In these experiments, characteristics of contexts including audience’s status, audience’s standard, audience’s performance and publicness of the situation were manipulated to examine participants’ reactions to feedback pertaining to an ostensibly important ability. These experiments revealed that compared to the interdependent self-construal, the independent self-construal was associated with higher levels of self-serving responses. These self-serving responses include attributing failure to external factors and attributing success to internal ones, derogating a failed test, and expressing less interest in taking a failed rather than a succeeded test again. These self-serving responses would be helpful for the independent self-construal individuals to maintain a positive self-view. Inhibited self-serving behaviors, on the other hand, were observed in the interdependent self-construal participants in some conditions such as when the audience held a high standard and when the audience failed a test the participants succeeded in. I argue that these inhibited self-serving responses were effective for the interdependent self-construal individuals to restore social harmony and repair the face of the affected others. Divergent routes individuals with different self-construals take to achieve social well-being, self-esteem versus face, were discussed.


Open Access