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Cultural identity integration and frame switching: Evidence for a nonconscious motivated process

Aurelia Mok, 2010
Faculty Advisor: Michael Morris


Bicultural individuals vary in the degree to which their two cultural identities are integrated--Bicultural Identity Integration (BII). Studies of social judgment find that BII affects how biculturals respond to cultural cues. Whereas biculturals with integrated cultural identities (high BIIs) assimilate to cued cultural norms, those with less integrated cultural identities (low BIIs) contrast against it. I investigated this pattern in decision making and behavior. I used different priming methods to elucidate the psychological process underlying the differential shifts to cultural cues. With Asian-Americans, I show that high BIIs shift assimilatively whereas low BIIs shift contrastively on behaviors related to product choice (Experiment 1), information search (Experiment 2), and performance (Experiment 3). I argue that motives, rather than perceived dissimilarity to prime stimuli, drive the contrast responses. Experiments 2 to 3 further suggests that the contrast can arise nonconsciously and automatically. Experiment 4 reveals that low BIIs' contrast extends to interpersonal behavior. Experiments 5 and 6 investigate whether BII can be implicitly shaped by affect or comparative mindset. Implications for bicultural identity, organizational and consumer behavior are discussed.

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