Cultures of Honor


Together with Dr. Ayse K. Uskul, and other colleagues, Cross has begun to identify cultural differences in the ways that Americans and Turkish people conceptualize honor and the implications of these cultural differences for behavior and cross-cultural understanding. In cultures of honor, social respect is of utmost importance; threats to one’s reputation must be addressed quickly and aggressively. Indeed, their research group found that Turkish research participants were more likely to retaliate against someone who threatened their honor than were European American participants from northern states, and this was most true if the Turkish participants highly valued the importance of being honorable (Uskul, Cross, Gusoy, Gercek-Swing, Alozkan, & Ataca, 2015). Turkish participants are also more likely to approve of someone who confronts an insult, compared to participants in northern USA (Cross, Uskul, Gercek-Swing, Alozkan, & Ataca, 2013). Our recent research has addressed the role of honor-related motivation in goal pursuit. Early findings suggest that threats to one’s honor often take precedence over other goals among members of cultures of honor, and they may consequently derail goal pursuit. These responses are consistent with a cultural view of honor in Turkey as a valuable resource that must be maintained and protected vigorously (see Uskul, Cross, Gunsoy, and Gul, 2017, for a review of research on cultures of honor).


Selected Publications on Cultures of Honor

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 & Emotion, 28, 1057-1075.