Social Honesty and Culture: White Lies and Social Face

Faculty Sponsor

Jim Nelson


Arts and Sciences



ORCID Identifier(s)


Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-23-2016


While the English language often adapts terms for things it cannot yet define from other languages, there are some concepts it is still unable to express effectively. One example is the Japanese concept of tatemae (建前) and honne (本音), often translated as “public face” and “private face” respectively. This study aims to better understand how social face works across cultures, and to distinguish the line between benevolent and malicious deception. Data was collected from universities in both Japan and the United States, and analysed using a multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) with cultural group as the independent variable, moral judgements of the scenarios as the dependent variable, and attitudes toward face as a covariate. Nationality proved to be statistically significant for responding, as did some courses of academic study.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Jared Joseph is a senior at Valparaiso University, majoring in psychology, individualized Japanese, and minoring in criminology. Pioneering VU’s first Japanese major, he spent one year in Japan at Kansai Gaidai University, where he started work on his honors thesis, synthesizing his fields of interest to gain a fuller understanding of his chosen topic, deception. Jared has been accepted to the University of California, Davis, for a fully funded doctoral program in sociology.

This document is currently not available here.