Multicultural minds. A dynamic constructivist approach to culture and cognition

Am Psychol. 2000 Jul;55(7):709-20. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.55.7.709.


The authors present a new approach to culture and cognition, which focuses on the dynamics through which specific pieces of cultural knowledge (implicit theories) become operative in guiding the construction of meaning from a stimulus. Whether a construct comes to the fore in a perceiver's mind depends on the extent to which the construct is highly accessible (because of recent exposure). In a series of cognitive priming experiments, the authors simulated the experience of bicultural individuals (people who have internalized two cultures) of switching between different cultural frames in response to culturally laden symbols. The authors discuss how this dynamic, constructivist approach illuminates (a) when cultural constructs are potent drivers of behavior and (b) how bicultural individuals may control the cognitive effects of culture.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adult
  • Asian / psychology
  • Cognition*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Symbolism*