The Cultural 'Tug of War': An in investigation into the cognitive effects of biculturalism
Gerbase 2011 MA.doc (1.074Mb)
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Research investigating the cognitive effects of biculturalism is scarce. With the aim of dissociating bilingualism and biculturalism, the study investigated the effect of biculturalism and cultural frame switching (CFS) on attentional control by comparing four groups: Monocultural Monolinguals, Bicultural Bilinguals, Monocultural Bilinguals and Western Bilinguals. Biculturals used in the study were East Asian-British/North American. Individual differences in acculturation strategies were also investigated through the BIIS-2 (Huynh & Benet-Martínez, 2010). No significant group differences were found on a task of attentional control. A trend indicated bicultural bilinguals performed better than monocultural bilinguals on auditory attention, F(3, 54)=2.09; p (Tukey HSD)=.09. However, the small sample size and use of a newly created attention task indicate this should be further investigated. A significant negative correlation was found between the degree to which biculturals separated their two cultures and attentional control performance (r=-.50; p<.05, N=20), suggesting individuals who conduct more CFS may have increased attentional control. A significant negative correlation was also found between the degree to which biculturals separated their two cultures and years lived in East Asia (r=-.60; p<.05, N=20). Amount of contact with the new, host culture could therefore influence the way a bicultural internalizes his/her two cultures. Finally, a significant positive correlation was found between independent self-construal and English language proficiency, r=.51; p<.05, N=20, suggesting a relationship may exist between language and self-construal. Due to the small scale and methodological issues of the present study, future studies are advised to further investigate the present findings. In addition, further research is encouraged to sustain the dissociation between bilingualism and biculturalism, and to control for musical ability when investigating auditory attentional control.