In Confucian societies, there are two perspectives to interpret why people are modest to their achievements. One is Collectivism which emphasizes interpersonal harmony; therefore, social norms constrain people from boasting their own achievements in order to protect others’ feeling of face. The other perspective is social script which points out that although people are modest to their achievement, through the admirers’ reaction to offer more intensive compliments, achievers can earn more face for themselves. Apparently, Collectivism differs from social script from explaining the reason for people’s modesty. One emphasizes the admirer’s face and the other strengthens the face of achiever. Using experimental scenario method, this study investigated “achiever” and “admirer’s” perception of their feelings of face change when the interacting target’s response fitted vs. not fitted modest social norms in order to clarify whether the effects of achievers’ modesty is to protect the admirer’s feelings of face or in fact it is to enhance the achiever’s own face. The results showed that both achiever and admirer’s fitting script responses could promote interacting target’s face feeling. However, comparing to the effects of achiever’s modesty on admirer’s face feeling, the admirer’s re-admiration after achiever’s modesty had more influence on achiever’s perception of face which implied that when an achiever was modest to his/her achievements in a social interaction context, s/he actually benefited face enhancing more than the admirer from the modesty.
The Asian Conference on Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences 2014 – Official Conference Proceedings