Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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Cultures vary in terms of emotional display rules, which include the expression of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. In Poland there is a norm of negativity, deriving from a culture of complaining (Wojciszke & Baryła, 2005), whereas in Canada, there is a tendency to express happiness (Safdar, Friedlmeier, Matsumoto, Yoo, Kwantes, Kakai, & Shigemasu, E., 2009). In the present research project, norms and values regarding smiling in public situations, norms regarding the affirmation of life and complaining, as well as individual measures of optimism (LOT-R) and well-being (SWLS) were measured among Poles and Canadians. The results showed that the cultural display rules endorsed by Canadian students affirmed smiling and positivity in social life more than those for Polish students. Contrary to expectations, optimism and the level of satisfaction with their own lives were significantly higher among Poles than Canadians. This may indicate a compensatory mechanism between normative displays and subjective experience. Other potential interpretations are also considered.

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