Social Honesty and Culture: White Lies and Social Face
Arts and Sciences
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.
Joseph, Jared, "Social Honesty and Culture: White Lies and Social Face" (2016). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 557.