|Other Abstract||As the affects that people want to experience, ideal affects are closely related to culture: while people in individualistic culture prefer high arousal positive affects (HAP), people in collectivistic culture prefer low arousal positive affects (LAP). Since an increasing tendency of individualism but a declining tendency of collectivism has been witnessed around the world, have the ideal affects also changed accordingly over the past decades? If so, what are the potential drives of these changes? In this research, for the first time, we conducted a series of studies in China to address these issues.
In Study 1, participants (age ≥ 49, N = 84, SD = 8.8) were asked to assess the extent to which Chinese people want to experience and actually experience the HPA and the LAP. Results showed that the preference of both HAP and LAP manifested a significant rise over the past decades.
In Study 2, participants aged (age ≥ 48, N = 94, SD = 9.22) were asked to assess the extent to which the three generations (grandparents, children and grandchildren) ideally want to experience and actually experience the HAP and LAP. Results indicated that the preference of HAP showed a significant rising trend, whereas the preference of LAP exhibited no change across three generations.
In Study 3, the frequency of affect words in the Google Ngram database were analyzed year by year (from 1949 to 2009). The results showed that while the frequency of HAP words has been declining over years, the frequency of LAP words exhibited no change.
In Study 4, the frequency of affect words in People's Daily was analyzed year by year (from 1946 to 2014). The results showed no significant changes of the use of HAP and LAP words.
Study 5 examined potential drives of the change of ideal affects by using the data from a large survey (N = 26734). The results show that, urbanization, education, collectivism and individualism all positively predict Chinese preference for HAP and LAP, after controlling other potential confounding factors (e.g., age, gender, race).
Overall, these findings support that positive affect including high arousal and low arousal states are the ideal affect of Chinese and that an rising tendency of preferences for these affects, while Chinese don't prefer negative affect including high arousal and low arousal states and even avoid experiencing these affects, and showing a falling tendency of preferences for these affects.The study show us the change of ideal affect in China over the past decades for the first time, thus enriching the understanding psychological impacts of societal change, and has a certain guide for the construction and practice of social psychological services in China.|