Bio


Jeanne L. Tsai is currently Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University, and the Director of the Stanford Culture and Emotion Lab. She earned her B.A. in psychology at Stanford, and then her PhD in clinical psychology at UC Berkeley. After doing her clinical internship and post-doc at UCSF in minority mental health, she was an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota from 1997-2000. She joined the faculty in the psychology department at Stanford in 2000.

Professor Tsai is broadly interested in the cultural shaping of emotion and its implications for health, decision-making, and person perception. Her work is currently funded by the National Science Foundation and has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. She is former Associate Editor of the journal Emotion, and current fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, American Psychological Association, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and Society for Experimental Social Psychology. At Stanford, she has received the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Asian American Activities Center Faculty Award.

Academic Appointments


Administrative Appointments


  • Professor, Department of Psychology, Stanford University (2017 - Present)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Stanford University (2007 - 2017)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Stanford University (2000 - 2007)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota (1997 - 2000)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Public Service and Minority Mental Health, University of California, San Francisco (1996 - 1997)
  • Clinical Intern, University of California, San Francisco (1995 - 1996)

Honors & Awards


  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science (2015)
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association (2015)
  • Fellow, Society for Personality and Social Psychology (2012)
  • Fellow, Society for Experimental Social Psychology (2010)
  • Asian American Activities Center Faculty Award, Stanford University (2009)
  • Nina C. Crocker Faculty Scholar, School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University (2007-2010)
  • Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, Stanford University (2005-2006)
  • Young Investigator Award, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (2003-2004)
  • Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions, Asian American Psychological Association (2003)
  • Junior Faculty Professional Development Fellowship, Irvine Foundation, Research Institute of Comparative Studies on Race and Ethnicity (2003)
  • Robert E. Harris Memorial Award, University of California, San Francisco (1997)
  • Sheldon J. Korchin Prize in Clinical Psychology, UC Berkeley (1995)
  • Western Psychological Association Student Award, Western Psychological Association (1995)
  • University of California, Berkeley Graduate Division Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley (1994-1996)
  • National Science Foundation Fellowship, National Science Foundation (1991-1994)
  • Firestone Award, Stanford University (1991)
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, Jacob K. Javits (1991)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Member, Society for Affective Science
  • Member, Association for Psychological Science
  • Member, American Psychological Association
  • Member, Society of Experimental Social Psychology
  • Member, Society for Personality and Social Psychology
  • Member, International Society for Research on Emotion
  • Associate Editor, Emotion (2015 - 2017)
  • Faculty Director, Asian American Studies, CSRE, Stanford (2015 - 2016)
  • Head, Affective Science Area, Dept. of Psychology, Stanford (2012 - 2016)
  • Member, Executive Committee, International Society for Self and Identity (2011 - 2013)
  • Head, Affective Science Area, Dept. of Psychology, Stanford (2010 - 2011)
  • Chair/Co-chair, Undergraduate Education Committee, Dept. of Psychology, Stanford (2009 - Present)
  • Co-Director, Undergraduate Program, Center of Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University (2009 - 2010)
  • Director, Undergraduate Program, Center of Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University (2008 - 2009)
  • Treasurer, International Society for Research on Emotion (2006 - 2010)
  • Member, NSF Graduate Student Diversity Committee, Stanford University (2006 - 2007)
  • Member, Executive Committee, Emotion Research Group (2005 - 2008)
  • Fellow, Difficult Dialogues on the Changing Structure of the Family, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Stanford University (2002 - 2005)
  • Faculty Member, NIMH Predoctoral Training Grant in Affective Science (2000 - Present)
  • Faculty Participant, American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program (2000 - 2001)

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Clinical Psychology (1996)
  • M.A., University of California, Berkeley, Clinical Psychology (1993)
  • B.A., Stanford University, Psychology (1991)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


My research examines how culture shapes affective processes (emotions, moods, feelings) and the implications cultural differences in these processes have for what decisions people make, how people think about health and illness, and how people perceive and respond to others in an increasingly multicultural world.

Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • Neurocultural Evidence That Ideal Affect Match Promotes Giving. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience Park, B., Blevins, E., Knutson, B., Tsai, J. L. 2017

    Abstract

    Why do people give to strangers? We propose that people trust and give more to those whose emotional expressions match how they ideally want to feel ("ideal affect match"). European Americans and Koreans played multiple trials of the Dictator Game with recipients who varied in emotional expression (excited, calm), race (White, Asian), and sex (male, female). Consistent with their culture's valued affect, European Americans trusted and gave more to excited than calm recipients, whereas Koreans trusted and gave more to calm than excited recipients. These findings held regardless of recipient race and sex. We then used fMRI to probe potential affective and mentalizing mechanisms. Increased activity in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc; associated with reward anticipation) predicted giving, as did decreased activity in the right temporo-parietal junction (rTPJ; associated with reduced belief prediction error). Ideal affect match decreased rTPJ activity, suggesting that people may trust and give more to strangers whom they perceive to share their affective values.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsx047

    View details for PubMedID 28379542

  • Leaders' Smiles Reflect Cultural Differences in Ideal Affect EMOTION Tsai, J. L., Ang, J. Y., Blevins, E., Goernandt, J., Elliott, J., Uchida, Y., Zhang, X., Fung, H. H., Jiang, D., Koelzer, A., Lee, Y., Lin, Y., Govindama, Y., Haddouk, L. 2016; 16 (2): 183-195

    Abstract

    Cultures differ in the emotions they teach their members to value ("ideal affect"). We conducted 3 studies to examine whether leaders' smiles reflect these cultural differences in ideal affect. In Study 1, we compared the smiles of top-ranked American and Chinese government leaders, chief executive officers, and university presidents in their official photos. Consistent with findings that Americans value excitement and other high-arousal positive states more than Chinese, American top-ranked leaders (N = 98) showed more excited smiles than Chinese top-ranked leaders (N = 91) across occupations. In Study 2, we compared the smiles of winning versus losing political candidates and higher versus lower ranking chief executive officers and university presidents in the United States and Taiwan/China. American leaders (N = 223) showed more excited smiles than Taiwanese/Chinese leaders (N = 266), regardless of election outcome or ranking. In Study 3, we administered self-report measures of ideal affect in college student samples from 10 different nations (N = 1,267) and then 8 years later, coded the smiles that legislators from those nations showed in their official photos (N = 3,372). The more nations valued excitement and other high arousal positive states, the more their leaders showed excited smiles; similarly, the more nations valued calm and other low-arousal positive states, the more their leaders showed calm smiles. These results held after controlling for national differences in democratization, human development, and gross domestic product per capita. Together, these findings suggest that leaders' smiles reflect the affective states valued by their cultures.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/emo0000133

    View details for Web of Science ID 000370971400006

    View details for PubMedID 26751631

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4760873

  • Limited time perspective increases the value of calm. Emotion Jiang, D., Fung, H. H., Sims, T., Tsai, J. L., Zhang, F. 2016; 16 (1): 52-62

    Abstract

    Previous findings indirectly suggest that the more people perceive their time in life as limited, the more they value calm. No study, however, has directly tested this hypothesis. To this end, using a combination of survey, experience sampling, and experimental methods, we examined the relationship between future time perspective and the affective states that people ideally want to feel (i.e., their "ideal affect"). In Study 1, the more people reported a limited time perspective, the more they wanted to feel calm and experience other low-arousal positive states. In Study 2, participants were randomly assigned to a limited time or an expanded time condition. Participants in the limited time condition reported valuing calm and other low arousal positive states more than those in the expanded time condition. We discuss the implications of these findings for broadening our understanding of the factors that shape how people ideally want to feel, and their consequences for decision making.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/emo0000094

    View details for PubMedID 26214569

  • Neural evidence for cultural differences in the valuation of positive facial expressions. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience Park, B., Tsai, J. L., Chim, L., Blevins, E., Knutson, B. 2016; 11 (2): 243-252

    Abstract

    European Americans value excitement more and calm less than Chinese. Within cultures, European Americans value excited and calm states similarly, whereas Chinese value calm more than excited states. To examine how these cultural differences influence people's immediate responses to excited vs calm facial expressions, we combined a facial rating task with functional magnetic resonance imaging. During scanning, European American (n = 19) and Chinese (n = 19) females viewed and rated faces that varied by expression (excited, calm), ethnicity (White, Asian) and gender (male, female). As predicted, European Americans showed greater activity in circuits associated with affect and reward (bilateral ventral striatum, left caudate) while viewing excited vs calm expressions than did Chinese. Within cultures, European Americans responded to excited vs calm expressions similarly, whereas Chinese showed greater activity in these circuits in response to calm vs excited expressions regardless of targets' ethnicity or gender. Across cultural groups, greater ventral striatal activity while viewing excited vs. calm expressions predicted greater preference for excited vs calm expressions months later. These findings provide neural evidence that people find viewing the specific positive facial expressions valued by their cultures to be rewarding and relevant.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsv113

    View details for PubMedID 26342220

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4733341

  • Wanting to Maximize the Positive and Minimize the Negative: Implications for Mixed Affective Experience in American and Chinese Contexts JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Sims, T., Tsai, J. L., Jiang, D., Wang, Y., Fung, H. H., Zhang, X. 2015; 109 (2): 292-315

    Abstract

    Previous studies have demonstrated that European Americans have fewer mixed affective experiences (i.e., are less likely to experience the bad with the good) compared with Chinese. In this article, we argue that these cultural differences are due to "ideal affect," or how people ideally want to feel. Specifically, we predict that people from individualistic cultures want to maximize positive and minimize negative affect more than people from collectivistic cultures, and as a result, they are less likely to actually experience mixed emotions (reflected by a more negative within-person correlation between actual positive and negative affect). We find support for this prediction in 2 experience sampling studies conducted in the United States and China (Studies 1 and 2). In addition, we demonstrate that ideal affect is a distinct construct from dialectical view of the self, which has also been related to mixed affective experience (Study 3). Finally, in Study 4, we demonstrate that experimentally manipulating the desire to maximize the positive and minimize the negative alters participants' actual experience of mixed emotions during a pleasant (but not unpleasant or combined pleasant and unpleasant) TV clip in the United States and Hong Kong. Together, these findings suggest that across cultures, how people want to feel shapes how they actually feel, particularly people's experiences of mixed affect. (PsycINFO Database Record

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0039276

    View details for Web of Science ID 000360443600007

    View details for PubMedID 26121525

  • Patients Respond More Positively to Physicians Who Focus on Their Ideal Affect EMOTION Sims, T., Tsai, J. L. 2015; 15 (3): 303-318

    Abstract

    Previous findings suggest that patients choose physicians whose affective focus matches how they ideally want to feel (Sims et al., 2014). For instance, the more people wanted to feel excitement, the more likely they were to hypothetically choose a new physician who promoted excitement. What remains unknown is whether this match shapes how patients actually respond to physicians after being assigned to them (i.e., whether they adhere to physicians' recommendations more and evaluate physicians more positively). To this end, community adults reported their global ideal affect and actual affect (how they ideally want to feel and actually feel during a typical week, respectively), and were randomly assigned to receive health recommendations from either a physician who expressed and promoted high arousal positive states (HAP) (e.g., excitement), or one who expressed and promoted low arousal positive states (LAP) (e.g., calm). For the next 5 days, participants reported their daily adherence to the recommendations and their daily ideal and actual affect. At the end of the week, participants evaluated their physician. As predicted, the more participants wanted to feel HAP, the more they adhered to the "HAP-focused" physician's recommendations, and the more participants wanted to feel LAP, the more they adhered to the "LAP-focused" physician's recommendations. Participants also evaluated their physician more positively when his affective focus matched their ideal affect. Neither global nor daily actual affect systematically predicted how patients responded to their physicians. These findings suggest that patients respond better to physicians whose affective focus matches their ideal affect.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/emo0000026

    View details for Web of Science ID 000354544600006

    View details for PubMedID 25313670

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4395515

  • Focusing on the negative: Cultural differences in expressions of sympathy. Journal of personality and social psychology Koopmann-Holm, B., Tsai, J. L. 2014; 107 (6): 1092-1115

    Abstract

    Feeling concern about the suffering of others is considered a basic human response, and yet we know surprisingly little about the cultural factors that shape how people respond to the suffering of another person. To this end, we conducted 4 studies that tested the hypothesis that American expressions of sympathy focus on the negative less and positive more than German expressions of sympathy, in part because Americans want to avoid negative states more than Germans do. In Study 1, we demonstrate that American sympathy cards contain less negative and more positive content than German sympathy cards. In Study 2, we show that European Americans want to avoid negative states more than Germans do. In Study 3, we demonstrate that these cultural differences in "avoided negative affect" mediate cultural differences in how comfortable Americans and Germans feel focusing on the negative (vs. positive) when expressing sympathy for the hypothetical death of an acquaintance's father. To examine whether greater avoided negative affect results in lesser focus on the negative and greater focus on the positive when responding to another person's suffering, in Study 4, American and German participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 conditions: (a) to "push negative images away" (i.e., increasing desire to avoid negative affect) from or (b) to "pull negative images closer" (i.e., decreasing desire to avoid negative affect) to themselves. Participants were then asked to pick a card to send to an acquaintance whose father had hypothetically just died. Across cultures, participants in the "push negative away" condition were less likely to choose sympathy cards with negative (vs. positive) content than were those in the "pull negative closer" condition. Together, these studies suggest that cultures differ in their desire to avoid negative affect and that these differences influence the degree to which expressions of sympathy focus on the negative (vs. positive). We discuss the implications of these findings for current models of sympathy, compassion, and helping.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0037684

    View details for PubMedID 25243416

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4340666

  • Choosing a physician depends on how you want to feel: The role of ideal affect in health-related decision making. Emotion Sims, T., Tsai, J. L., Koopmann-Holm, B., Thomas, E. A., Goldstein, M. K. 2014; 14 (1): 187-192

    Abstract

    When given a choice, how do people decide which physician to select? Although significant research has demonstrated that how people actually feel (their "actual affect") influences their health care preferences, how people ideally want to feel (their "ideal affect") may play an even greater role. Specifically, we predicted that people trust physicians whose affective characteristics match their ideal affect, which leads people to prefer those physicians more. Consistent with this prediction, the more participants wanted to feel high arousal positive states on average (ideal HAP; e.g., excited), the more likely they were to select a HAP-focused physician. Similarly, the more people wanted to feel low arousal positive states on average (ideal LAP; e.g., calm), the more likely they were to select a LAP-focused physician. Also as predicted, these links were mediated by perceived physician trustworthiness. Notably, while participants' ideal affect predicted physician preference, actual affect (how much people actually felt HAP and LAP on average) did not. These findings suggest that people base serious decisions on how they want to feel, and highlight the importance of considering ideal affect in models of decision making preferences.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0034372

    View details for PubMedID 24188062

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4035201

  • Buddhist-inspired meditation increases the value of calm. Emotion Koopmann-Holm, B., Sze, J., Ochs, C., Tsai, J. L. 2013; 13 (3): 497-505

    Abstract

    Most studies of meditation have focused on "actual affect" (how people actually feel). We predict that meditation may even more significantly alter "ideal affect" (how people ideally want to feel). As predicted, meditators ideally wanted to feel calm more and excited less than nonmeditators, but the groups did not differ in their actual experience of calm or excited states (Study 1). We ruled out self-selection and nonspecific effects by randomly assigning participants to meditation classes, an improvisational theater class, or a no class control (Study 2). After eight weeks, meditators valued calm more but did not differ in their actual experience of calm compared with the other groups. There were no differences in ideal or actual excitement, suggesting that meditation selectively increases the value placed on calm. These findings were not due to expectancy effects (Study 3). We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding how meditation alters affective life.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0031070

    View details for PubMedID 23356567

  • Striving to Feel Good: Ideal Affect, Actual Affect, and Their Correspondence Across Adulthood PSYCHOLOGY AND AGING Scheibe, S., English, T., Tsai, J. L., Carstensen, L. L. 2013; 28 (1): 160-171

    Abstract

    The experience of positive affect is essential for healthy functioning and quality of life. Although there is a great deal of research on ways in which people regulate negative states, little is known about the regulation of positive states. In the present study we examined age differences in the types of positive states people strive to experience and the correspondence between their desired and actual experiences. Adults aged 18-93 years of age described their ideal positive affect states. Then, using experience-sampling over a 7-day period, they reported their actual positive affect experiences. Two types of positive affect were assessed: low-arousal (calm, peaceful, relaxed) and high-arousal (excited, proud). Young participants valued both types of positive affect equally. Older participants, however, showed increasingly clear preferences for low-arousal over high-arousal positive affect. Older adults reached both types of positive affective goals more often than younger adults (indicated by a smaller discrepancy between actual and ideal affect). Moreover, meeting ideal levels of positive low-arousal affect (though not positive high-arousal affect) was associated with individuals' physical health, over and above levels of actual affect. Findings underscore the importance of considering age differences in emotion-regulatory goals related to positive experience.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0030561

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316591500017

    View details for PubMedID 23106153

  • Dynamics of ideal affect Conference on Changing Emotions Tsai, J. L. PSYCHOLOGY PRESS. 2013: 120–126
  • Dynamics of ideal affect Changing emotions Tsai, J. L. edited by Hermans, D., Rime, B. Psychology Press. 2013: 120–126
  • The religious shaping of emotion: Implications of Affect Valuation Theory Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Tsai, J. L., Koopmann-Holm, B., Ochs, C., Miyaki, M. edited by Paloutzian, R., Park, C. New York: Guilford Press. 2013; 2nd: 274–291
  • Values moderate age differences in relationship orientation PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES Fung, H. H., Ho, Y. W., Tam, K., Tsai, J., Zhang, X. 2011; 50 (7): 994-999
  • Value moderates age differences in personality: The example of relationship orientation Personality and Individual Differences Fung, H. H., Ho, Y. W., Tam, K., Tsai, J., Zhang, X. 2011
  • Further Evidence for the Cultural Norm Hypothesis: Positive Emotion in Depressed and Control European American and Asian American Women CULTURAL DIVERSITY & ETHNIC MINORITY PSYCHOLOGY Chentsova-Dutton, Y. E., Tsai, J. L., Gotlib, I. H. 2010; 16 (2): 284-295

    Abstract

    How does culture shape the effects of depression on emotion? A previous study showed that depression dampened negative emotional responses in European Americans, but increased these responses in Asian Americans (Chentsova-Dutton et al., 2007). These findings support the cultural norm hypothesis, which predicts that depression reduces individuals' abilities to react in culturally ideal ways (i.e., disrupting European Americans' abilities to express emotions openly and Asian Americans' abilities to moderate emotions). In the present study, we examined the generalizability of this hypothesis to positive emotion. We measured the emotional reactivity of 35 European Americans (17 depressed) and 31 Asian Americans (15 depressed) to an amusing film. Consistent with the cultural norm hypothesis, European Americans who were depressed showed dampened emotional reactivity (i.e., fewer smiles, less intense reports of positive emotion, lower cardiac activation) compared to control European Americans, whereas Asian Americans who were depressed showed similar (for smiles and reports of positive emotion), and even greater (for higher cardiac activation) emotional reactivity compared to control Asian Americans. These findings suggest that the cultural norm hypothesis generalizes to positive emotion.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0017562

    View details for Web of Science ID 000277174200021

    View details for PubMedID 20438167

  • Self-Focused Attention and Emotional Reactivity: The Role of Culture JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Chentsova-Dutton, Y. E., Tsai, J. L. 2010; 98 (3): 507-519

    Abstract

    Research conducted with European Americans suggests that attention to the individual self intensifies emotional reactivity. We propose, however, that cultural models of the self determine which aspect of the self (individual vs. relational), when attended to, intensifies emotional reactivity. In 3 studies, we predicted and observed that attention to individual aspects of the self was associated with levels of emotional reactivity that were greater in individuals from European American contexts (which promote an independent model of the self) than in individuals from Asian American contexts (which promote an interdependent model of the self). In contrast, attention to relational aspects of the self was associated with levels of emotional reactivity that were similar or greater in individuals from Asian American than in individuals from European American contexts. These findings highlight the importance of considering cultural and situational factors when examining links between the self and emotion.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0018534

    View details for Web of Science ID 000274588600011

    View details for PubMedID 20175627

  • Replicating the Positivity Effect in Picture Memory in Koreans: Evidence for Cross-Cultural Generalizability PSYCHOLOGY AND AGING Kwon, Y., Scheibe, S., Samanez-Larkin, G. R., Tsai, J. L., Carstensen, L. L. 2009; 24 (3): 748-754

    Abstract

    Older adults' relatively better memory for positive over negative material (positivity effect) has been widely observed in Western samples. This study examined whether a relative preference for positive over negative material is also observed in older Koreans. Younger and older Korean participants viewed images from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS), were tested for recall and recognition of the images, and rated the images for valence. Cultural differences in the valence ratings of images emerged. Once considered, the relative preference for positive over negative material in memory observed in older Koreans was indistinguishable from that observed previously in older Americans.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0016054

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269933600024

    View details for PubMedID 19739932

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2775417

  • Culture and depression International Encyclopedia of Depression Chentsova-Dutton, Y. E., Tsai, J. edited by Ingram, R. E. New York: Springer Publishing. 2009
  • Understanding depression across cultures Handbook of depression Chentsova-Dutton, Y., Tsai, J. edited by Gotlib, I., Hammen, C. New York: Guilford Press. 2009; 2nd: 363–385
  • Depression and emotional reactivity: Variation among Asian Americans of east Asian descent and European Americans JOURNAL OF ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY Chentsova-Dutton, Y. E., Chu, J. P., Tsai, J. L., Rottenberg, J., Gross, J. J., Gotlib, I. H. 2007; 116 (4): 776-785

    Abstract

    Studies of Western samples (e.g., European Americans [EAs]) suggest that depressed individuals tend to show diminished emotional reactivity (J. G. Gehricke & A. J. Fridlund, 2002; G. E. Schwartz, P. L. Fair, P. Salt, M. R. Mandel, & G. L. Klerman, 1976a, 1976b). Do these findings generalize to individuals oriented to other cultures (e.g., East Asian cultures)? The authors compared the emotional reactions (i.e., reports of emotional experience, facial behavior, and physiological reactivity) of depressed and nondepressed EAs and Asian Americans of East Asian descent (AAs) to sad and amusing films. Their results were consistent with previous findings: Depressed EAs showed a pattern of diminished reactivity to the sad film (less crying, less intense reports of sadness) compared with nondepressed participants. In contrast, depressed AAs showed a pattern of heightened emotional reactivity (greater crying) compared with nondepressed participants. Across cultural groups, depressed and nondepressed participants did not differ in their reports of amusement or facial behavior during the amusing film. Physiological reactivity to the film clips did not differ between depressed and control participants for either cultural group. Thus, although depression may influence particular aspects of emotional reactivity across cultures (e.g., crying), the specific direction of this influence may depend on prevailing cultural norms regarding emotional expression.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/0021-843X.116.4.776

    View details for Web of Science ID 000250937700010

    View details for PubMedID 18020723

  • Ideal Affect Cultural Causes and Behavioral Consequences PERSPECTIVES ON PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Tsai, J. L. 2007; 2 (3): 242-259
  • Attachment, sense of coherence, and mental health among Chinese American college students: Variation by migration status INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERCULTURAL RELATIONS Ying, Y., Lee, P. A., Tsai, J. L. 2007; 31 (5): 531-544
  • Influence and adjustment goals: Sources of cultural differences in ideal affect JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Tsai, J. L., Miao, F. F., Seppala, E., Fung, H. H., Yeung, D. Y. 2007; 92 (6): 1102-1117

    Abstract

    Previous studies have found that in American culture high-arousal positive states (HAP) such as excitement are valued more and low-arousal positive states (LAP) such as calm are valued less than they are in Chinese culture. What specific factors account for these differences? The authors predicted that when people and cultures aimed to influence others (i.e., assert personal needs and change others' behaviors to meet those needs), they would value HAP more and LAP less than when they aimed to adjust to others (i.e., suppress personal needs and change their own behaviors to meet others' needs). They test these predictions in 1 survey and 3 experimental studies. The findings suggest that within and across American and Chinese contexts, differences in ideal affect are due to specific interpersonal goals.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/0022-3514.92.6.1102

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246991100010

    View details for PubMedID 17547491

  • Predictors of depressive symptoms in Chinese American college students: Parent and peer attachment, college challenges and sense of coherence AMERICAN JOURNAL OF ORTHOPSYCHIATRY Ying, Y., Lee, P. A., Tsai, J. L. 2007; 77 (2): 316-323

    Abstract

    Based on Antonovsky's salutogenic model, the authors hypothesized that sense of coherence would mediate the effects of parent and peer attachment and college challenges on depressive symptoms as well as moderate the relationship between college challenges and depressive symptoms in Chinese Americans. To test our hypotheses, 353 Chinese American college students completed paper-pencil measures. Supporting our hypotheses, sense of coherence fully mediated the effects of parent and peer attachment on depressive symptom level and served as a partial mediator and moderator of the effect of college challenges on depressive symptoms. Implications of the study findings for promoting the mental health of Chinese American students are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/0002-9432.77.2.316

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246857700016

    View details for PubMedID 17535129

  • Good feelings in Christianity and Buddhism: Religious differences in ideal affect PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN Tsai, J. L., Miao, F. F., Seppala, E. 2007; 33 (3): 409-421

    Abstract

    Affect valuation theory (AVT) predicts cultural variation in the affective states that people ideally want to feel (i.e., "ideal affect"). National and ethnic comparisons support this prediction: For instance, European Americans (EA) value high arousal positive (HAP) states (e.g., excitement) more and low arousal positive (LAP) states (e.g., calm) less than Hong Kong Chinese. In this article, the authors examine whether religions differ in the ideal affective states they endorse. The authors predicted that Christianity values HAP more and LAP less than Buddhism. In Study 1, they compared Christian and Buddhist practitioners' ideal affect. In Studies 2 and 3, they compared the endorsement of HAP and LAP in Christian and Buddhist classical texts (e.g., Gospels, Lotus Sutra) and contemporary self-help books (e.g., Your Best Life Now, Art of Happiness). Findings supported predictions, suggesting that AVT applies to religious and to national and ethnic cultures.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0146167206296107

    View details for Web of Science ID 000244646000009

    View details for PubMedID 17312321

  • Learning what feelings to desire: Socialization of ideal affect through children's storybooks PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN Tsai, J. L., Louie, J. Y., Chen, E. E., Uchida, Y. 2007; 33 (1): 17-30

    Abstract

    Previous findings suggest that cultural factors influence ideal affect (i.e., the affective states that people ideally want to feel). Three studies tested the hypothesis that cultural differences in ideal affect emerge early in life and are acquired through exposure to storybooks. In Study 1, the authors established that consistent with previous findings, European American preschoolers preferred excited (vs. calm) states more (indexed by activity and smile preferences) and perceived excited (vs. calm) states as happier than Taiwanese Chinese preschoolers. In Study 2, it was observed that similar differences were reflected in the pictures (activities, expressions, and smiles) of best-selling storybooks in the United States and Taiwan. Study 3 found that across cultures, exposure to exciting (vs. calm) storybooks altered children's preferences for excited (vs. calm) activities and their perceptions of happiness. These findings suggest that cultural differences in ideal affect may be due partly to differential exposure to calm and exciting storybooks.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0146167206292749

    View details for Web of Science ID 000243347100002

    View details for PubMedID 17178927

  • Cultural models of shame and guilt Handbook of Self-Conscious Emotions Wong, Y., Tsai, J. L. edited by Tracy, J., Robin, R., Tangney, J. New York, NY: Guilford Press. 2007: 210–223
  • Cultural factors influence the expression of psychopathology The Great Ideas of Clinical Science: The 18 Concepts That Every Mental Health Practitioner and Researcher Should Understand Chentsova-Dutton, Y., Tsai, J. L. edited by O'Donohue, W., Lilienfeld, S. New York, NY: Brunner-Taylor. 2007: 375–396
  • Gender differences in emotional response among European Americans and Hmong Americans COGNITION & EMOTION Chentsova-Dutton, Y. E., Tsai, J. L. 2007; 21 (1): 162-181
  • Emotion elicitation using dyadic interaction tasks Handbook of Emotion Elicitation Roberts, N. A., Tsai, J. L., Coan, J. edited by Allen, J., Coan, J. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 2007: 106–123
  • Cultural and temperamental variation in emotional response EMOTION Tsai, J. L., Levenson, R. W., McCoy, K. 2006; 6 (3): 484-497

    Abstract

    To examine the relative influence of cultural and temperamental factors on emotional response, we compared the emotional behavior, reports of emotional experience, and autonomic responses of 50 European American (EA) and 48 Chinese American (CA) college-age dating couples during conversations about conflicts in their relationships. EA couples showed more positive and less negative emotional behavior than did CA couples, despite similarities in reports of emotional experience and autonomic reactivity. Group differences in emotional behavior were mediated by cultural (values and practices) but not temperamental factors (neuroticism and extraversion). Collapsing across groups, cultural factors accounted for greater variance in emotional behavior but lesser variance in reports of emotional experience compared with temperamental factors. Together, these findings suggest that the relative influence of cultural and temperamental factors on emotion varies by response component.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/1528-3542.6.3.484

    View details for Web of Science ID 000240290800013

    View details for PubMedID 16938089

  • Cultural variation in affect valuation JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Tsai, J. L., Knutson, B., Fung, H. H. 2006; 90 (2): 288-307

    Abstract

    The authors propose that how people want to feel ("ideal affect") differs from how they actually feel ("actual affect") and that cultural factors influence ideal more than actual affect. In 2 studies, controlling for actual affect, the authors found that European American (EA) and Asian American (AA) individuals value high-arousal positive affect (e.g., excitement) more than do Hong Kong Chinese (CH). On the other hand, CH and AA individuals value low-arousal positive affect (e.g., calm) more than do EA individuals. For all groups, the discrepancy between ideal and actual affect correlates with depression. These findings illustrate the distinctiveness of ideal and actual affect, show that culture influences ideal affect more than actual affect, and indicate that both play a role in mental health.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/0022-3514.90.2.288

    View details for Web of Science ID 000236445600007

    View details for PubMedID 16536652

  • The experience of college challenges: Variation among Chinese American students Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies Ying, Y., Lee, P. A., Tsai, J. L. 2006; 4: 79-97
  • Ethnic identity Handbook of Asian American Psychology Cheryan, S., Tsai, J. L. edited by Leong, F., Inman, A., Ebreo, A., Yang, L., Kinoshita, L., Fu, F. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2006
  • Cross-cultural applications of the MMPI-2 A practitioner’s guide Butcher, J. N., Mosch, S. C., Tsai, J. L., Nezami, E. edited by Butcher, J. Washington, DC, USA: American Psychological Association. 2006: 503–537
  • Inventory of college challenges for ethnic minority students: psychometric properties of a new instrument in Chinese Americans. Cultural diversity & ethnic minority psychology Ying, Y., Lee, P. A., Tsai, J. L. 2004; 10 (4): 351-364

    Abstract

    The Inventory of College Challenges for Ethnic Minority Students (ICCEMS) is a newly developed instrument that assesses challenges faced by ethnic minority college students across a range of cultural, academic, social, and practical domains. The present study tested the ICCEMS among Chinese American students in an attempt to identify its factor structure and assess its psychometric properties. A total of 13 factor domains emerged. The Cronbach's alpha and 1-month test-retest reliability of the subscales and the overall scale supported their reliability. Both criterion and construct validities were also demonstrated. Chinese American college students faced the greatest challenges in terms of unclear career direction and academic demands.

    View details for PubMedID 15554798

  • Somatic and social: Chinese Americans talk about emotion PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY BULLETIN Tsai, J. L., Simeonova, D. I., Watanabe, J. T. 2004; 30 (9): 1226-1238

    Abstract

    Empirical findings suggest that Chinese and Americans differ in the ways that they describe emotional experience, with Chinese using more somatic and social words than Americans. No one, however, has investigated whether this variation is related to differences between Chinese and American conceptions of emotion or to linguistic differences between the English and Chinese languages. Therefore, in two studies, the authors compared the word use of individuals who varied in their orientation to Chinese and American cultures (European Americans [EA], more acculturated Chinese Americans [CA], and less acculturated CA) when they were speaking English during emotional events. Across both studies, less acculturated CA used more somatic (e.g., dizzy) and more social (e.g., friend) words than EA. These findings suggest that even when controlling for language spoken, cultural conceptions of emotion may shape how people talk about emotion.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0146167204264014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000223215500011

    View details for PubMedID 15359024

  • The emotional integration of childhood experience: Physiological, facial expressive, and self-reported emotional response during the adult attachment interview 41st Annual Meeting of the Society-for-Psychophysiological-Research Roisman, G. I., Tsai, J. L., Chiang, K. H. AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC. 2004: 776–89

    Abstract

    Attachment researchers claim that individual differences in how adults talk about their early memories reflect qualitatively distinct organizations of emotion regarding childhood experiences with caregivers. Testing this assumption, the present study examined the relationship between attachment dimensions and physiological, facial expressive, as well as self-reported emotional responses during the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). Consistent with theoretical predictions, more prototypically secure adults behaviorally expressed and reported experiencing emotion consistent with the valence of the childhood events they described. Insecure adults also showed distinctive and theoretically anticipated forms of emotional response: Dismissing participants evidenced increased electrodermal activity during the interview, a sign of emotional suppression, whereas preoccupied adults showed reliable discrepancies between the valence of their inferred childhood experiences and their facial expressive as well as reported emotion during the AAI. Results substantiate a case that the AAI reflects individual differences in emotion regulation that conceptually parallel observations of attachment relationships in infancy.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000223483300010

    View details for PubMedID 15355165

  • Psychometric properties of the intergenerational congruence in immigrant families: Child scale in Chinese Americans JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE FAMILY STUDIES Ying, Y. W., Lee, P. A., Tsai, J. L. 2004; 35 (1): 91-?
  • Variation among European Americans in emotional facial expression JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY Tsai, J. L., Chentsova-Dutton, Y. 2003; 34 (6): 650-657
  • The effects of depression on the emotional responses of Spanish-speaking Latinas. Cultural diversity & ethnic minority psychology Tsai, J. L., Pole, N., Levenson, R. W., Muñoz, R. F. 2003; 9 (1): 49-63

    Abstract

    Emotional responses (physiology, self-report, and facial expression) of 12 depressed and 10 nondepressed Spanish-speaking Latinas during sad and amusing film clips of human and animal content were compared. Depressed Latinas demonstrated less electrodermal reactivity across all the film clips and displayed fewer social smiles during the amusing-human film clip than nondepressed Latinas. No differences emerged for cardiovascular measures, reports of emotion, or facial expressions of happiness and negative emotion. Observed differences in electrodermal reactivity are similar to results from previous studies of Anglo Americans, suggesting that reduced electrodermal activity may be linked to depression across cultures. The findings also suggest that, for Latinas, depression may selectively alter expressions that serve interpersonal functions.

    View details for PubMedID 12647325

  • Emotional Expression and Physiology in European Americans and Hmong Americans EMOTION Tsai, J. L., Chentsova-Dutton, Y., Freire-Bebeau, L., Przymus, D. E. 2002; 2 (4): 380-397

    Abstract

    Ethnographic and clinical observations suggest that Asians are less expressive than European Americans. To examine whether this difference emerged in online emotional responding, 50 Hmong Americans (HAs) and 48 European Americans (EAs) were asked to relive past episodes of intense happiness, pride, love, anger, disgust, and sadness. Facial behavior and physiological reactivity were measured. For most emotions, more cultural similarities than differences were found. There were some exceptions: During happiness, fewer HAs than EAs showed non-Duchenne smiles (i.e., "social" smiles), despite similarities in reported emotional experience and physiological reactivity. Within-group differences between "less Hmong" and "more Hmong" HAs were also found. Implications of these findings for our understanding of culture-emotion relations are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1037//1528-3542.2.4.380

    View details for Web of Science ID 000208224800004

    View details for PubMedID 12899371

  • What does "being American" mean? A comparison of Asian American and European American young adults. Cultural diversity & ethnic minority psychology Tsai, J. L., Mortensen, H., Wong, Y., Hess, D. 2002; 8 (3): 257-273

    Abstract

    Two studies found that the meaning of "being American" differs for Asian Americans and European Americans. In Study 1, Hmong and European American undergraduates described what "being American" meant to them. In Study 2, Chinese American and European American undergraduates described what "American culture" meant to them. Responses were coded for references to cultural exposure, customs/traditional behavior, ethnic diversity, political ideology, and patriotism. Across both studies, Asian Americans referred to American customs and traditional behavior more than European Americans. European Americans referred to patriotism more than Hmong (in Study 1) and to ethnic diversity more than Chinese Americans (in Study 2). The authors suggest that these differences reflect the distinct statuses, concerns, and experiences of Asian Americans and European Americans.

    View details for PubMedID 12143103

  • Psychophysiological studies of emotion and psychopathology Clinical Personality Assessment King, S. K., Tsai, J. L., Chentsova-Dutton, Y. edited by Butcher, J. N. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 2002: 56–74
  • Why and how we should study ethnic identity, acculturation, and cultural orientation Asian American psychology: The science of lives in context Tsai, J. L., Chentsova-Dutton, Y., Wong, Y. edited by Hall, G., Okazaki, S. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. 2002: 41–65
  • Different models of cultural orientation in American and overseas-born Asian Americans Asian American Mental Health: Assessment Theories and Methods Tsai, J. L., Chentsova-Dutton, Y. . edited by Kurasaki, K., Okazaki, S., Sue, S. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.. 2002: 95–106
  • What does “Being American” mean?: Differences between Asian American and European American young adults Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology Tsai, J. L., Morstensen, H., Wong, Y., Hess, D. 2002; 8: 257-273
  • Towards an understanding of Asian American interracial dating and marriage Inside the American Couple Tsai, J. L., Przymus, D. E., Best, J. L., Carstensen, L. edited by Yalom, M. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 2002: 189–210
  • Understanding depression across cultures Handbook of Depression Tsai, J. L., Chentsova-Dutton, Y. edited by Gotlib, I., Hammen, C. New York, NY: Guilford Press. 2002: 467–491
  • Cultural predictors of self-esteem: a study of Chinese American female and male young adults. Cultural diversity & ethnic minority psychology Tsai, J. L., Ying, Y. W., Lee, P. A. 2001; 7 (3): 284-297

    Abstract

    This study examined how specific domains of cultural orientation (language, social affiliation, and cultural pride) related to self-esteem for a sample of 174 Chinese American male and 179 Chinese American female college students. Participants completed measures of cultural orientation (General Ethnicity Questionnaire; J.L. Tsai, Y.W. Ying, & P.A. Lee, 2000) and self-esteem (M. Rosenberg, 1965). Cultural orientation significantly predicted self-esteem, above and beyond the contribution of age, gender, grade point average, and socioeconomic status. Specifically, proficiency in English and Chinese languages and pride in Chinese culture were positively correlated with self-esteem, whereas affiliation with Chinese people was negatively correlated with selfesteem. The cultural predictors of self-esteem differed for Chinese American men and women. Whereas self-esteem was mainly related to pride in Chinese culture for Chinese American women, self-esteem was mainly related to English and Chinese language proficiency for Chinese American men. Implications of these findings for understanding Asian Americans are discussed.

    View details for PubMedID 11506074

  • Relationship of young adult Chinese Americans with their parents: Variation by migratory status and cultural orientation AMERICAN JOURNAL OF ORTHOPSYCHIATRY Ying, Y. W., Lee, P. A., Tsai, J. L., Lee, Y. J., Tsang, M. 2001; 71 (3): 342-349

    Abstract

    To examine whether Chinese and American cultural orientations mediate the association between migratory status and parent relationship, 122 American-born, 121 early-immigrant, and 110 late-immigrant Chinese young adults were measured on cultural orientation and parent relationship. The poorest relationships were found in the early-immigrant group. Cultural orientation mediated the difference in parent relationship between early and late immigrant groups, but not between early-immigrant and American-born groups. Implications of the findings for research and practice are discussed.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000170174200009

    View details for PubMedID 11495336

  • Asian American college students as model minorities: an examination of their overall competence. Cultural diversity & ethnic minority psychology Ying, Y. W., Lee, P. A., Tsai, J. L., Hung, Y., Lin, M., Wan, C. T. 2001; 7 (1): 59-74

    Abstract

    Educational success among Asian Americans has led to their being labeled the "model minority." At the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Asian American students have higher grade point averages (GPAs) than Hispanic and African American but not White students, supporting the notion that Asian Americans are more successful compared with other racial minorities. However, success in the classroom does not implicate effective functioning in life, and nonacademic criteria ought to be considered in assessing the validity of the model minority image. Given the increasing diversification of the United States, cross-racial engagement may be an additional contributor to overall competence. This was empirically tested in a group of 642 undergraduates at UCB, including 291 Asian, 197 White, 20 African American, 67 Hispanic, and 56 multiracial students. Overall competence was operationalized by sense of coherence, that is, the extent to which the world is experienced as comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful (A. Antonovsky, 1979, 1987). As predicted, Asian Americans had significantly fewer numbers of cross-racial groups represented in their friendship network than did students of all other races. Lower cross-racial engagement and being Asian (as compared with White) were related to a lower sense of coherence, whereas lower GPA was not. Within the Asian American subsample, cross-racial engagement was again significantly associated with greater coherence, whereas GPA again was not. Thus, extending the definition of success to overall competence, these findings raise questions about the applicability of the model minority label to Asian Americans, despite their academic achievement. Future studies need to assess the reasons for their limited cross-racial engagement and lower sense of coherence and to examine means to assist the development of these strengths.

    View details for PubMedID 11244904

  • Cultural orientation of Hmong young adults Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment Tsai, J. L. 2001; 3-4: 99-114
  • Network composition, social integration, and sense of coherence in Chinese American young adults Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment Ying, Y., Lee, P. A., Tsai, J. L., Lee, Y. J., Tsang, M. 2001; 3-4: 83-98
  • Culture, ethnicity, and psychopathology The Comprehensive Handbook of Psychopathology Tsai, J. L., Butcher, J. N., Vitousek, K., Munoz, R. edited by Adams, H. E., Sutker, P. B. New York, NY: Plenum Press. 2001: 105–127
  • Cultural orientation and racial discrimination: Predictors of coherence in Chinese American young adults JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY Ying, Y. W., Lee, P. A., Tsai, J. L. 2000; 28 (4): 427-441
  • The meaning of "being Chinese" and "being American" - Variation among Chinese American young adults JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY Tsai, J. L., Ying, Y. W., Lee, P. A. 2000; 31 (3): 302-332
  • The concept of depression in Chinese American college students Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology Ying, Y., Lee, P. A., Tsai, J. L., Yeh, Y., Huang, J. 2000; 6: 183-195
  • Autonomic, expressive, and subjective responses to emotional films in older and younger Chinese American and European American adults Psychology and Aging Tsai, J. L., Levenson, R. W., Carstensen, L. L. 2000; 15: 684-693
  • Culture Encyclopedia of Human Emotion Tsai, J. L. edited by Levison, D., Ponzetti, J., Jorgensen, P. New York, NY: Macmillan Press. 1999: 159–166
  • Emotion and aging Encyclopedia of Mental Health Pasupathi, M., Carstensen, L. L., Turk-Charles, S., Tsai, J. L. edited by Friedman, H. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. 1998: 91–101
  • Emotion and aging: Experience, expression, and control PSYCHOLOGY AND AGING Gross, J. J., Carstensen, L. L., Pasupathi, M., Tsai, J., Skorpen, C. G., Hsu, A. Y. 1997; 12 (4): 590-599

    Abstract

    Age differences in emotional experience, expression, and control were investigated in 4 studies. A community sample of 127 African Americans and European Americans (ages 19-96 years) was used in Study 1; a community sample of 82 Chinese Americans and European Americans (ages 20-85 years) was used in Study 2; a community sample of 49 Norwegians drawn from 2 age groups (ages 20-35 years and 70+ years) was used in Study 3; and a sample of 1,080 American nuns (ages 24-101 years) was used in Study 4. Across studies, a consistent pattern of age differences emerged. Compared with younger participants, older participants reported fewer negative emotional experiences and greater emotional control. Findings regarding emotional expressivity were less consistent, but when there were age differences, older participants reported lesser expressivity. Results are interpreted in terms of increasingly competent emotion regulation across the life span.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1997YK91800005

    View details for PubMedID 9416628

  • Cultural influences on emotional responding - Chinese American and European American dating couples during interpersonal conflict JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY Tsai, J. L., Levenson, R. W. 1997; 28 (5): 600-625
  • Clinical intervention with ethnic minority elders The Practical Handbook of Clinical Gerontology Tsai, J. L., Carstensen, L. L. edited by Carstensen, L. L., Edelstein, B. A., Dornbrand, L. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE Publishers. 1996: 76–106
  • Ageism in interpersonal settings The Social Psychology of Interpersonal Discrimination Pasupathi, M., Carstensen, L. L., Tsai, J. L. edited by Lott, B., Maluso, D. New York, NY: Guilford Press. 1994