A long and rich tradition in Western-dominated social psychology has examined the effects of people's observations of their own behavior on their subsequent attitudes and behaviors. Studies in this tradition examine and find moderating effects of various contextual factors (e.g., volition and publicness) on people's tendencies to align their attitudes/behaviors with their observed behaviors. Conversely, there has been a historical tradition for examining the effects of social influences and group pressure on human thought and behavior. Recent findings reviewed in this chapter suggest cultural differences in independence and interdependence moderate the relative impact of one's own behavior and behavior of others. People from cultures stressing independence are more influenced by observations of their own behaviors, whereas people from cultures stressing interdependence are more influenced by observations of their peers' behaviors.
Historically, there have been two research traditions in the study of influence: one focusing on the effects of personal information and the other dealing with the effects of social information. Influence based on personal information refers to people being affected by their observations of what they have said and done in the past. Influence based on social information refers to people being affected by their observations of others' attitudes and behaviors. This chapter considers how the impact of these two forms of influence varies across cultures.