Previous studies have reported that our interpersonal knowledge shows an asymmetry; that is, we tend to believe that we know and understand other people's thoughts and feelings better than other people know and understand our own thoughts and feelings. In the present study, the authors compared American (114 men, 192 women) and Korean (99 men and 98 women) students to examine whether the asymmetry is greater in collectivistic than in individualistic culture in two types of relationships: horizontal (with best friends) and vertical (with parents). On all three items-Know, Understand, and Visibility-asymmetry was found for both horizontal and vertical relationships. Further, the Understand and Visibility items showed greater asymmetry for the Korean group than for the American group. It was concluded that asymmetry is greater in collectivistic than in individualistic culture. The cultural differences can be explained by self-consistency, sensitivity to social consequences, parent-child interaction, and living arrangement.
- asymmetry in interpersonal knowledge
- collectivistic culture
- cultural differences
- individualistic culture