People are being exposed to second cultures in growing numbers, yet the role played by second-culture exposure in shaping sociocognitive skills has received little theoretical attention. The authors address this gap by exploring the relationship between acculturation strategies and integrative complexity. Consistent with the acculturation complexity model, studies of both Asian American college students (Study 1) and Israelis working in the United States (Study 2) show that biculturals are more integratively complex across domains (e.g., culture, work) than either assimilated or separated individuals. Using priming manipulations to clarify the directional flow of causality between acculturation and integrative complexity, the authors also find that greater integrative complexity among biculturals is driven by acculturation pressures (Study 3). Finally, the authors discuss the adaptive implications of multiculturalism.
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