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The Psychological and Cultural Foundations of East Asian CognitionContradiction, Change, and Holism$
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Julie Spencer-Rodgers and Kaiping Peng

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199348541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199348541.001.0001

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The Dialectical Self

The Dialectical Self

The Internal Consistency, Cross-Situational Consistency, and Temporal Stability of Self-Conception

(p.411) Chapter 14 The Dialectical Self
The Psychological and Cultural Foundations of East Asian Cognition

Sylvia Xiaohua Chen

Julie Spencer-Rodgers

Kaiping Peng

Oxford University Press

Originating in East Asian epistemologies, naïve dialecticism gives rise to contradictory, ever-changing, and interrelated perceptions of all entities, including the self. It influences the self in three fundamental ways, specifically, by affecting the (1) internal consistency, (2) cross-situational consistency, and (3) temporal stability of the content and structure of people’s self-conceptions. This chapter reviews the cross-cultural research that shows that Westerners possess more consistent and stable self-conceptions over time and across situations, whereas East Asians possess more variable and contextualized self-views, at both an explicit and implicit level. The chapter further discusses some of the consequences of the dialectical self (e.g., in bilingual/bicultural contexts) and presents directions for future research.

Keywords:   dialecticism, naïve dialecticism, self-concept, cross-cultural differences, East Asian self-views, self-perception

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