The psychology of strengths and weaknesses: Assessing self-enhancing and self-critical tendencies in Eastern and Western cultures

Christopher Lo, Charles C. Helwig, Xiaohua Sylvia Chen, Megumi M. Ohashi, Clara Michelle Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the extent to which individuals from East Asia and North America exhibit self-enhancing and self-critical tendencies when appraising their personal strengths and weaknesses, to test whether a self-critical motivation may replace a self-enhancing motivation among Easterners. Four hundred four university students from Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, and the United States were surveyed concerning their beliefs about ten self-nominated positive and negative attributes. Questions included how long they have possessed each attribute, its importance and salience, and the desire to improve the attribute. The pattern of findings suggests that both self-enhancing and self-critical tendencies coexist within individuals across both cultural contexts, although Easterners were less self-enhancing and more self-critical than Westerners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalSelf and Identity
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • Culture
  • Self-criticism
  • Self-enhancement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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