Group-Reference Effect of Chinese Students

Published: 16 November 2018| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/bw844gg25w.1
Chunna Hou


We investigated the positivity effect of group-reference memory. A positivity effect refers to the favoring of positive over negative stimuli during cognitive processing, which wasinitially found in the self-reference effect. Previous studies have suggested that the group-reference effect derives from the self-reference effect; however, a positivity effect has not been observed in individualistic cultures. The current study expanded this exploration to a collectivistic cultural context, which emphasizes the role of the collective self in the self-construct.Ninety-six high-school students from three ethnic minorities in China (Hui, Korean, and Daur) and from the Han participatedin the current study. Participants were asked to determine whether personality trait-related words described themselves (self-reference task), their ethnicity (group-reference task), or a celebrity (other-reference tasks) when encoding information. After a distraction task, they completed a surprise recognition memory test. The results suggested that the positivity effect of group-reference memory was present in the ethnic minority groups, except for the Korean students; significant group-reference effects were all observed in the other minority groups. Although the group-reference effect was not detected in the Han students, a marginal significant group-reference positivity effect was present. Our study confirmed that the positivity effect in group-reference memory is similar to that inself-reference memory. In addition, by using the experimental paradigm of two experimental groups, the results suggested that there was not only a significant difference in the relationship between the collective self and individual self in the ethnic minorities and the Han, but also a significant difference between the two experimental groups of the ethnic minorities. We also discuss the cultural difference in the self-structure in the collectivistic cultural background.


Steps to reproduce

GR = group-reference; GRE = group-reference effect; OR = other-reference; SR = self-reference; SRE = self-reference effect.


University Students