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Unconscious Bias and Cultural Adaptation in Intercultural Training

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King's College London

Strand

Room S-1.27

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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Research Meets Practice: How to Apply New Understandings of Unconscious Bias and the "U-Curve" of Cultural Adaptation in Intercultural Training

Join us for a discussion of the latest developments in unconscious bias and cultural adaptation. Two leading scholars – Dr Perry Hinton, University of Warwick and Dr Nicholas Geeraert, University of Essex will update us on the current status of both concepts. This will be followed by a panel discussion with both scholars and two practitioners – Adrian Pilbeam, President of SIETAR UK, and Agnes Bamford, Director of Professional Development – on how to implement these developments in intercultural training practices. The audience is very much welcome to share their thoughts and ideas during this session.

Venue: Room S-1.27

What do psychologists mean by “unconscious bias”? Cognition and culture in the learning of implicit associations.

Dr Perry Hinton, University of Warwick

It is becoming increasingly common to hear the psychological term “unconscious bias” in the popular media, with the implication that this is this is a negative aspect of individual cognition, following in the tradition of the “faulty thinking” literature within psychology. Developing the work of Hinton (2017), this presentation argues that the psychological research does not support this view: rather, implicit cognitive associations represent the “culture in mind” of the members of a social group, not a cognitive “bias” of individual mental processing. It is further argued that group members will have learnt the associations present within their culture, but personally may consciously reject these associations when they conflict with their ideological viewpoint. Whereas the research indicates that changing the implicit associations of an individual may be extremely difficult, it is argued that cultural change can lead to significant change in the implicit associations of the members of a social group.

An acculturation tale of culture shock: Myths and facts

Dr Nicolas Geeraert, University of Essex

When people relocate to a new country do they experience a typical pattern of adjustment? If so, do sojourners experience acculturative stress (a.k.a. culture shock) on arrival or do sojourners typically go through an initial 'honeymoon' phase? There is in fact little support in the literature for a 'one-size fits all' pattern for the so-called acculturation curve. While this problem has been studied for over half a century, the development of new research methods and statistical software in recent years means that this old question can be revisited and examined in a more rigorous manner. Using longitudinal survey data from intercultural exchange students (N = 2480) travelling from and to 51 different countries, we explore these acculturation questions. Latent Class Growth Analysis was used to examine the temporal pattern of stress experienced by sojourners. This analysis revealed five distinct patterns of change in stress: a J-curve, a U-curve, a mild stress, a minor relief and a resilience pattern. In addition, we examined the antecedents and consequences of acculturative stress through both variable-centred (i.e. Multi-Level Modelling) and person-centred analyses (i.e. individual stress trajectories). We also examined how social norms impact sojourners' adaptation. This question is examined using the framework of cultural tightness, i.e. the extent to which a culture is characterized by social norms and tolerance for deviant behaviours. We hypothesized that both the country of origin and destination impact on adaptation. Sojourners travelling to a tighter culture are expected to be less adapted than those that go to loose cultures. In contrast, individuals who have been socialized in tighter cultures are expected to be more adapted than those in loose cultures, due to an awareness of the strength and importance of social norms. Further, the effect of cultural tightness is expected to be moderated by personality.



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King's College London

Strand

Room S-1.27

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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Refunds up to 7 days before event

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