April 25 , 2007. 3:00-4:30pm. Porter Hall 223D, Carnegie Mellon University

Cross-Cultural Adaptation to Gains and Losses.

Presenter: Hal Arkes, Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University

Using an American sample my colleagues and I found that people adapt more completely to gains than to losses. We also found that closing a mental account after a gain or loss fostered even more complete adaptation. When we ran the same experiments in Korea and China, we found two startling differences from our American results. One difference was that the asymmetry between adaptation to gains and losses was much greater in the Asian countries than in America. With subsequent research we discovered the basis for this difference. A second difference was that closing a mental account had the opposite effect in the Asian countries than in America; it actually reduced adaptation in the Asian samples! The audience members will be assigned the task of explaining that result after I present some data ruling out an explanation we entertained. I also may present some data on the Asian and American cultures' different responses to opportunity costs.