Cultures of Honor

Why are people around the work willing to sacrifice for honor? An honor culture is characterized by a complex set of beliefs, attitudes, and norms about the importance of personal reputation, and the necessity of protecting and defending one’s reputation and social image.

Since 2007, Susan Cross and Ayse Uskul (Univ. of Kent, UK) have investigated the ways that a culture of honor influences behavior in Turkey. When compared to Americans from northern states, Turkish people have richer conceptions of the concept of honor, and they perceive that more situations are imbued with honor-related implications. They respond to honor-relevant situations with more intense emotions and are more sensitive to sharing content in social media that could lead to shame or disrepute. Our research replicated previous findings of the link between honor and aggression, and it showed that honor threats impair goal pursuit more among Turkish participants.

Current work in our lab has extended this research to examine the ways that a concern for honor influences interpersonal behavior among Latinx Americans and Mexicans.  In addition, the Cross group is associated with the international HONORLOGIC project, directed by Ayse Uskul, which examines the role of honor in social interaction processes in cultural groups surrounding the Mediterranean and beyond.

Selected Publications on Cultures of Honor

Cross, S. E., & Uskul, A.K. (in press). Cultures of honor:  Themes and variations. In M. Gelfand & C-Y Chiu, (Eds.), Handbook of Advances in Culture & Psychology. Oxford University Press.

Gul, P., Cross, S.E., & Uskul, A. K(2021). Implications of culture of honor theory and research for practitioners and prevention researchers. American Psychologist, 76, 502-515.

Uskul, A. K., Cross, S. E., Gunsoy, C., & Gul, P. (2020). Cultures of Honor. In S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of Cultural Psychology (2nd edition). New York: Guilford.

Günsoy, C., Joo, M., Gul, P., Cross, S. E., Uskul, A. K., Wasti, S. A., Salter, P., Erdas, K. D.  (2020). The influence of honor threats on goal delay and goal derailment: A comparison of Turkey, Southern US, and Northern US. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 88. PDF

Günsoy, C., Cross, S. E., Saribay, A., Olcaysoy-Okten, I., & Kurutas, M. (2015). Would you post that picture and let your dad see it? Culture, honor and Facebook. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 323-335. PDF

Uskul, A., K., Cross, S. E., Gunsoy, C., Gercek-Swing, B., Alozkan, C., & Ataca, B. (2015). A price to pay: Turkish and northern American retaliation for threats to personal and family honor. Aggressive Behavior, 41, 594-607. PDF

Cross, S. E., Uskul, A. K., Gercek Swing, B., Sunbay, A., Alozkan, C., Gunsoy, C., Ataca, B., & Karakitapoğlu-Aygün, Z. (2014). Cultural prototypes and dimensions of honor. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 232-249. PDF

Uskul, A. K., Cross, S., Alozkan, C., Gercek-Swing, B., Ataca, B., Gunsoy, C., & Sunbay, Z. (2014). Emotional responses to honor situations in Turkey and the Northern US. Cognition & Emotion28, 1057-1075. PDF

Cross, S. E., Uskul, A. K., Gercek Swing, B., Alozkan, C., & Ataca, B. (2013). Confrontation vs. withdrawal: Cultural differences in responses to threats to honor. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 16, 345-362. PDF

Uskul, A. K., Cross, S. E., Sunbay, A., Gercek-Swing, B., & Ataca, B. (2012). Honor bound: The cultural construction of honor in Turkey and the Northern US. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 43, 1131-1151. PDF