Uniquely Diverse: Ethnic Diversity and Interethnic Contact Predict Individualistic Values and Behaviour
MetadataShow full item record
Research on social change suggests that cultural values and behaviour have become increasingly individualistic over the past century. Prior researchers theorized that shifts in sociodemographic variables—e.g., changes in urbanization and socioeconomic status, are largely responsible for this cultural change. The research presented in this paper draws from social psychological research to introduce the idea that greater ethnic diversity is related to an increased endorsement of individualistic values and behaviour, and may contribute to the increasing rates of individualism. Across six studies, I investigate the association between the levels of ethnic diversity and individualism across multiple levels of analyses. In Study 1, I demonstrate that historical levels of ethnic diversity across the United States over the last century predict societal indicators of individualism. Study 2 presents evidence that increasing ethnic diversity predicts increasing individualism at the level of U.S. states over the span of 16 years, an effect that exists for both majority and minority group members. In Study 3, I offer evidence that people who perceive greater ethnic diversity in their communities report increased interactions with ethnically different others, and that increased interethnic interactions contribute to a greater endorsement of individualistic values. In Study 4, I present evidence that undergraduate student’s perceptions of greater ethnic diversity in a classroom at the start of an academic term predicted a greater endorsement of individualism at the end of that academic term. In Study 5, I show that people who report greater ease of recalling ethnically diverse others in their interpersonal network endorse greater levels of individualism. In Study 6, I present experimental evidence that imagining interacting with ethnically different (vs. same) others increases one’s endorsement of individualism. I conclude by discussing the implication of these findings for research on cultural change and intergroup relations.
Cite this version of the work
Alex C. Huynh (2018). Uniquely Diverse: Ethnic Diversity and Interethnic Contact Predict Individualistic Values and Behaviour. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13867