Emotional Acculturation: Emotions as Gateways to Minority Inclusion
Emotions are key processes of social inclusion. Because emotions vary across cultures, immigrant minorities may be at a disadvantage in majority culture. The current grant builds on this idea that emotions be invisible gatekeepers that keep minorities out of majority cultural contexts. In the proposed studies we test the role of emotional acculturation --the changes in emotions resulting from immigrant minorities’ exposure to majority culture—for minorities’ contact and inclusion in majority contexts. Using the data of the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study, a 3-wave panel study of immigrant minority youth in a representative sample of Flemish Belgian (i.e. Dutchspeaking) secondary schools, we test whether there are feedback loops between emotional acculturation and the social inclusion. We expect that these feedback loops may lead progressively to either the integration or the alienation of immigrant minorities into majority contexts. We also test the longitudinal effects of emotional acculturation on school belonging and academic success (e.g., grades). Finally, we examine the effect of the school-level diversity beliefs on emotional acculturation. The proposal (a) is innovative in its focus on the acculturation of ‘deep’ psychological processes, (b) has the potential to yield evidence for the cultural shaping of emotions into adulthood, and (c) offers unique leads to psychological interventions that may benefit immigrant minority integration into majority culture.