Unpacking cultural variations in peak-experiences : Cross-cultural comparisons of early childhood recollection between Hong Kong and Brazil

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-260
Journal / PublicationJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number2
Online published10 Apr 2011
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


In this cross-cultural study, 115 Hong Kong Chinese and 117 Brazilian college students described a childhood peak-experience (occurring before the age of 14) and provided a self-rating on its enduring impact. Among various categories of peak-experiences, both Hong Kong Chinese and Brazilians reported interpersonal joy most frequently; the second most frequently reported category was external achievement for the Hong Kong sample and developmental landmark for the Brazilian sample. Compared with Brazilians' narratives, those of Hong Kong Chinese were more social-focused, involving greater number of other people, but less specific. These characteristics of autobiographical memory, i. e., memory focus (self vs. social), memory specificity (specific vs. general), and the number of other people involved, significantly mediated the relation between culture and interpersonal joy. The present findings have extended research on peak-experiences to cross-cultural contexts and incorporated measures of autobiographical memory to unpack cultural variations in these two collectivist societies. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Research Area(s)

  • Autobiographical memories, Brazil, Culture, Hong Kong, Peak-experiences

Citation Format(s)