Title: Emotional acculturation
Other Titles: Emotionele acculturatie
Authors: De Leersnyder, Jozefien
Issue Date: 5-Sep-2014
Abstract: Patterns of emotions –how frequently and intensely people experience a range of emotions – differ across cultures in line with cultural differences in salient concerns. Therefore, I argue that changes in people’s cultural context (e.g., due to migration) will change their patterns of emotional experience. This process I have called emotional acculturation. My dissertation investigates i) the phenomenon of emotional acculturation; ii) the links between emotions and salient cultural concerns, which explicate emotional acculturation as shifts in concerns; and iii) the implications of emotional fit with one’s culture for well-being. My studies are presented in co-authored research papers (chapters 2-7). They are accompanied by a general introduction and a discussion (chapters 1 and 8).To investigate the phenomenon of emotional acculturation, I have compared the emotional lives of Korean and Turkish minorities with those of members of the mainstream (European American, Belgian; chapter 2) and heritage cultures (Korean, Turkish; chapter 3). I found that minorities’ emotional patterns were more concordant to the typical mainstream patterns when they had spent more time in the new culture and had more daily social contacts with mainstream members. Similarly, they were more concordant to the heritage culture’s emotional patterns when they spent more time with heritage culture friends. Rather than replacing heritage cultural repertoires, newly acquired mainstream repertoires co-exist with them; and both repertoires are activated by different contexts of interaction: at home, minorities were more concordant to heritage than to mainstream patterns; at work or at school they were more concordant to mainstream patterns. Finally, minorities’ emotional concordance to a culture was dissociated from their explicit attitudes towards that culture. Emotional concordance thus provides a new implicit measure of cultural affiliation as distinct from traditional measures of acculturation attitudes.To elucidate emotional acculturation as a shift in minorities’ salient concerns, another series of studies investigated the links between emotions and cultural concerns. I found evidence associating the salience of self- versus other-focused concerns to the experience of socially disengaging versus engaging types of emotions (chapter 4). Subsequently, I successfully induced emotional frame switching in a field experiment with Turkish-Belgian biculturals who interacted in a Belgian vs. Turkish contexts where a confederate violated cultural concerns. Biculturals’ emotional reactions (behavioral coding) revealed different emotional patterns depending on the interaction context, in line with culturally salient concerns in that context(chapter5).In a final series of studies with European American, Korean and Belgian monocultruals, I related emotional fit with the culture’s typical patterns to their well-being. Across cultures, I found more relational well-being when people’s emotional pattern fitted their culture in situations that were about one’s relationships with others (socially engaging situations; chapter 6). Moreover, people’s psychological well-being was predicted by emotional fit in situations that afforded the actualization of the culture’s specific mandates: autonomy-promoting situations at work for European Americans, relatedness-promoting situations at home for Koreans, and both autonomy- and relatedness-promoting situations for Belgians (chapter 7).The dissertation develops an approach of emotional acculturation from cultural differences in emotional patterns, which are contingent on salient cultural concerns and transmitted through social interactions. My research suggests that minorities acquire new emotional repertoires while maintaining those that were in place, so that different socio-cultural contexts – and most salient concerns in those contexts – activate different emotional repertoires. In this way, minorities can maximize emotional fit with the cultural context, which may be important for their well-being. First evidence relating monoculturals’ emotional fit with their culture to their relational and psychological well-being suggests that this may be the case.To conclude, my dissertation establishes that emotions are subject to acculturation and hence reflect implicit cultural affiliations. Moreover, I show that emotional acculturation is context-dependent; and that it does not coincide with explicit attitudes. My research adds to acculturation research by challenging traditional accounts of psychological acculturation. Moreover, it adds to emotion research by showing the plasticity of people’s emotional patterns beyond primary socialization, and the role of salient cultural concerns in shaping their emotions.
ISBN: 9789090285054
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Social and Cultural Psychology

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