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THE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF SWITCHING BETWEEN CULTURES West, A. W. & Sasaki, J. Y. One way that biculturals negotiate their cultures is by frame switching, adapting aspects of themselves to fit each cultural context. Frame switching is an adaptive skill, but our research unveils its potential detriments. In Western, individualist cultures that value consistency and associate inconsistency with inauthenticity, frame switching can negatively impact biculturals because they are deemed less authentic. Mainstream North Americans in Canada (Study 1, N = 97) and the U.S. (Study 2, N = 133) read about a bicultural who frame switches (vs. no switching vs. control) and rated him on multiple traits. In both studies, frame switching decreased likeability, trustworthiness, warmth, and competence, all via lower authenticity. Affirming the bicultural’s authenticity mitigated the negative effects of frame switching (Studies 3, N = 135, & 4, N = 390). In sum, these findings promote a more complex understanding of frame switching: although adaptive, it can have social consequences. Further, by showing experimental evidence linking frame switching to specific outcomes, we highlight that the way that biculturals negotiate their cultures shapes their experiences more broadly.
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