A process model of emotional acculturation.
The more contact immigrant minorities have with members from the majority culture, the more they experience emotions that are typical in the majority culture; this is what we call ‘emotional acculturation.’ Although we know that the fit between immigrant minority and majority emotions increases when they interact, we do not know what processes contribute to this increased emotional fit. The current project aims to fill this gap by studying the emotional acculturation of Turkish Belgian adolescents throughout their interactions with Belgian peers. In three studies, we will follow minorities’ learning of typical Belgian situation-emotion patterns (a) after being exposed to these patterns repeatedly (Study1), (b) after discussing these patterns with an unfamiliar majority peer (Study2), and (c) after having spent time interacting with a majority classmate (Study3). In all studies, we also test the hypothesis that immigrant minorities’ emotional fit with the majority increases psychological and social well-being and facilitates the relationship with majority peers. Together these studies offer a new approach to the study of acculturation in which adjustments to the new culture are understood as changes in key psychological processes (rather than merely changes in attitudes towards the new and the heritage culture). The studies also shed light on the dynamic social processes involved in emotion generation generally.