Managing Two Cultural Identities
The Malleability of Bicultural Identity Integration as a Function of Induced Global or Local Processing
- Aurelia Mok, Department of Management, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Hong Kong Email:
Increasingly, individuals identify with two or more cultures. Prior research has found the degree to which individuals chronically integrate these identities (bicultural identity integration; BII) moderates responses to cultural cues: High BII individuals assimilate (adopting biases that are congruent with norms of the cued culture), whereas low BII individuals contrast (adopting biases that are incongruent with these norms). The authors propose BII can also be a psychological state and modulated by shifts in processing styles. In four experiments, the authors induced a global or local processing style using physical posture (Experiment 1) and cognitive manipulations (Experiments 2–4) and found that BII is enhanced in contexts facilitating a more global processing style (i.e., smiling, high-level construal, and similarity focus). The authors also found that contrastive responses to cultural cues are diminished when BII is situationally enhanced. Implications for research on processing style, identity integration, and performance in culture-based situations are discussed.
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The studies were supported by faculty research funds from Columbia Business School and its Program on Social Intelligence.
- Received February 8, 2010.
- Accepted August 21, 2011.
- © 2012 Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.