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Cross-Cultural Experimental Research: Investigating How Social Tuning Works Across Cultures

By: Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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In this case study, the pros and cons to conducting cross-cultural experimental research are considered. In this set of studies, we examined the influence culture had on social tuning (or aligning views with an interaction partner). Sinclair and colleagues found that individuals engage in social tuning if they have affiliative motivation. Lun and colleagues found that individuals also engaged in social tuning when they had epistemic motivation (the desire for knowledge/information). However, this research was conducted with individualists in the United States. We wondered whether collectivists need these motivations to engage in social tuning because past research shows that collectivists are more focused on social coordination and are more likely to adjust their behaviors to others than individualists. This suggests that collectivists may be more likely to engage in social tuning automatically. To investigate this, we conducted three experiments. In the first experiment, we examined the cultural background of the participants (e.g., United States or Hong Kong). In the second and third experiments, we used mindset priming to see if we could replicate the results of Experiment 1 regardless of one’s cultural background. We found that collectivists engage in social tuning automatically. Overall, this was important research to undertake as it provided insights into the role culture plays in the social tuning process. In sum, cross-cultural research, especially those utilizing experimental design, require a great deal of resources, planning, and consideration.

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