Two studies (n = 497) examine gender differences in “unrealistic optimism” in beliefs of marriage using a Taiwanese population. Unrealistic optimism is defined as the beliefs that positive (negative) events are more (less) likely to happen to one’s self versus others. Although the bias is robust, it has been shown to be lower among people with an interdependent orientation, specifically those from a collectivist culture (e.g., Taiwan). We find that the unrealistic optimism bias is stronger (Study 1) and more resilient to change when base rates are provided (Study 2) for men as compared to women. Results are consistent with the interpretation that men have a less relationally interdependent self-construal than women. Theoretical implications for unrealistic optimism, cross-cultural psychology, as well as gender differences are discussed.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(2), 198-207