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Culture and Egocentric Perceptions of Fairness in Conflict and Negotiation

In this article, the authors advanced a cultural view of judgment biases in conflict and negotiation. The authors predicted that disputants’ self-serving biases of fairness would be more prevalent in individualistic cultures, such as the United States, in which the self is served by focusing on one’s positive attributes to “stand out” and be better than others, yet would be attenuated in collectivistic cultures, such as Japan, where the self is served by focusing on one’s negative characteristics to “blend in” (S. J. Heine, D. R. Lehman, H. R. Markus, & S. Kitayama, 1999). Four studies that used different methodologies (free recall, scenarios, and a laboratory experiment) supported this notion. Implications for the science and practice of negotiation are discussed.