Recent Major Grants


Is "doing a favor" by breaking a fair rule for close others a morally ambiguous form of corruption, while taking bribes is not? Particularism may involve moral conflicts that are increased by holding certain types of virtues, and affected in a specific way by environmental corruption.

January 1 2018 – June 30 2021


January 2016 - June 2018

Is it morally good to treat different people differently? We are looking for cultural similarities and differences in how acting inconsistently is related to perceptions of different virtues—such as being principled vs. being kind.


Jan 2014- Jun 2017

What is the content of Chinese lay concepts of morality? How does acting uncivilized, vs. being harmful or unfair, affect observers moral judgments and emotional reactions?

Grant Details:


“Filial values and “unhealthy practices:” When is corruption increased by Confucian virtues? The roles of moral conflict and societal transparency” (January 1 2018 – June 30 2021), HK$664,052, funded by the Hong Kong Research Grant Council General Research Fund (RGC / GRF). PI: Emma E. Buchtel. Co-I’s: Yanjun Guan, Xiao-xiao Liu, Hagop Sarkissian.


“Chinese Moral Character: What does it mean to be principled in a Confucian culture?” (January 2016 - June 2018), HK$553,840, funded by the Hong Kong Research Grant Council General Research Fund (RGC / GRF). PI: Emma E. Buchtel.


“Chinese morality: When propriety is part of the picture, what does morality mean? Testing and extending moral theory to fit lay concepts of a Confucian moral system” (Jan 2014- Jun 2017), HK$731,845, Early Career Scholar grant (RGC). PI: Emma E. Buchtel. Collaborators: Michael H. Bond, Steven M. Shardlow, Yanjie Su, & Yanjun Guan.


Related Public Talks

Culture, Morality and

Connecting Across Differences


Dr. Emma Buchtel gave some examples of how perspective-taking can allow you to reap the benefits of cultural difference, and on how to use her research on culture and morality to harness the power of cultural diversity. This talk also called for social mindfulness and an understanding of moral relativism in cultures, and how that should not be a basis of alienation.

By seeking out difference and trying to connect and integrate it, research suggests that we can become more creative, opening up more possibilities for new ideas and new ways of expressing yourself.

De-Essentializing Bar Graphs: Diversity Within Differences

How do you hold in your mind that yes, there ARE important cultural differences-- but, they don't apply to every topic, or every person? Cultural psychologists illustrate and emphasize interesting cultural differences with bar graphs, but we sure hope you don't misunderstand them. Let's take a look at why cultural differences shouldn't make you stereotype individuals: What it means when we say that "Within-culture differences are (almost always) bigger than between-culture differences."