Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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To explore the possible socio-cognitive consequences of biculturalism, we examined the complexity of cultural representations in monocultural and bicultural individuals. Study 1 found that Chinese-American biculturals’ free descriptions of both American and Chinese cultures were higher in cognitive complexity than that of Anglo-American monoculturals, but the same effect was not apparent in descriptions of culturally-neutral entities (landscapes). Using the same procedures, Study 2 found that the cultural representations of biculturals with low levels of Bicultural Identity Integration (BII; or biculturals with conflicted cultural identities) were more cognitively complex than that of biculturals with high BII (biculturals with compatible cultural identities). This work shows that biculturalism and BII have meaningful cognitive consequences; further it suggests that exposure to more than one culture increases individuals’ ability to detect, process, and organize everyday cultural meaning, highlighting the potential benefits of multiculturalism.

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