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Veronica Benet-Martinez: The Psychology of Multicultural Experiences and Identities: Social, Personality, and Cultural Perspectives
March 10, 2016 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Cultural contact due to factors such as migration, globalization, and travel (among others) has made cultural diversity experiences an everyday phenomenon and led to unprecedented numbers of individuals who consider themselves bicultural or multicultural. What are the psychological consequences of these acculturative and identity processes? Using a framework that integrates acculturation, social-identity theory, and individual differences approaches, and that relies on laboratory experiments, and survey and social network methodologies, this presentation will review a program of research conducted to examine how multicultural individuals process and respond to dual cultural information (e.g., cultural frame-switching or CFS), how they integrate their different cultural identities into a cohesive sense of self (e.g., Bicultural Identity Integration, BII), how they maintain competing loyalties between different cultural groups, and the socio-cognitive and adjustment consequences of this type of experiences and identities. These studies, which are conducted with samples varying in culture/ethnicity, age, and generational status, enclave, reveal that: (1) cultural frame-switching effects exist for a wide range of behaviors (e.g., attributions, personality self-views, ethnic identity, self-construals, values, among others); (2) individual differences in BII moderate cultural frame-switching behavior so that biculturals high on BII respond to cultural cues in culturally-congruent ways while biculturals low on BII give contrastive responses; (3) differences in bicultural identity are linked to specific demographic, acculturation, personality, social-identity, cognitive, and wellbeing variables; and (4) biculturalism (relative to other acculturation strategies) is positively linked to (psychological and socio-cultural) adjustment.
Integrating theory and research from acculturation, cultural, social and personality psychologies, this presentation will review a program of research conducted to examine the psychology of multicultural experiences and identities.
Verónica Benet-Martínez is a Professor in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain. Her research centers on the psychology of multicultural identity and experiences across different national contexts (Europe, USA) and for different types of groups (e.g., immigrants, ethnic minorities, transnational adoptees). She is particularly interested in individual variations in bicultural identity structure and dynamics, and the interplay of social context and cognitive and personality factors in predicting both positive and negative outcomes from multicultural and intercultural experiences. She investigates these issues with experimental and correlational designs that rely on self-report, behavioral, and social-network data. She most recently published the “Oxford Handbook of Multicultural Identity,” which won the Ursula Gielen Global Psychology Award by the American Psychological Association. Before joining UPF, she held faculty positions in the psychology departments of the University of California (Riverside) and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), and was a funded Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California (Berkeley). She obtained a Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology from the University of California (Davis). She is an appointed Fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), was an associate editor for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2009-2015), and has been an editorial board member for several top-tier personality, social, and cultural psychology journals. She will visit CUNY during the Spring 2016 term.