The individual as "melting pot": The flexibility of bicultural self-construals

Wendi L. Gardner*, Shira Gabriel, Kristy K. Dean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


New views of biculturalism have transformed the "melting pot" vision of American culture to one in which immigrants are encouraged to maintain multicultural diversity rather than assimilate to the dominant culture. Indeed, the marker of bicultural competence is now seen as the ability to display culturally appropriate behaviors in both the new and old cultural settings (e.g., LaFramboise, Coleman, & Gerton, 1993). Recent social cognitive research emphasizing both the shifting nature of the self (e.g., Gardner, Gabriel, & Lee, 1999) and of cultural world-views (e.g., Hong, Morris, Chiu, & Benet-Martínez, 2000) can illuminate the mechanisms underlying this more dynamic form of biculturalism. The current research demonstrated bicultural flexibility by comparing monocultural (European-American) and bicultural (Asian-American) participants' self-construals, values, and responses to social obligations as a function of the situational accessibility of independent and interdependent self-construal. As expected, Asian-Americans appeared more responsive to the primes than their European-American counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-201
Number of pages21
JournalCahiers de Psychologie Cognitive
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004


  • Culture
  • Identity
  • Priming
  • Self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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