The bicultural phenomenon: The interplay of group prototypicality and cultural identity switching

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Cross-cultural research has indicated that bicultural individuals switch their behavioral patterns according to situational cultural frames. Based on self-categorization theory and evidence that being prototypical for an ingroup can increase ingroup identification, we investigated the idea that when being prototypical for a specific culture, bicultural individuals switch their cultural identification toward the culture for which they are prototypical. According to previous findings, we additionally investigated the moderating role of perceived cultural compatibility. In this study, we manipulated cultural group prototypicality by giving immigrant Polish-German participants test performance feedback. As hypothesized, participants either showed increased identification with the German culture when the feedback rendered them prototypically German, or with the Polish culture when the feedback rendered them prototypically Polish. This effect was moderated by perceived cultural compatibility. Implications for a self-enhancement motive are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Psychology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 09.2016
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Biculturalism, Cultural compatibility, Cultural identity switch, Prototypicality
  • Psychology