We are interested in how identity and culture influence social behaviors in different contexts. Below is a short description of some of the ongoing research studies in my laboratory.
Identity Integration: How do people negotiate between their multiple identities?
We all have different identities, or groups that we belong to and identity with. For example, someone may be a parent, a Latina, a soccer player, a lawyer, a Republican, etc. Sometimes, these identities may pull us in conflicting directions.
How do we psychologically manage these conflicting identities? In this lab, we study individual differences in how various social identities are integrated, and the situational factors that moderate these processes.
We have studied identity integration in many different groups: such as biculturals and multiculturals, biracials, women in male-dominated professions, people who belong in different disciplines or work groups, and people who are pulled by conflicting obligations from different social roles such as work and family.
We examine whether different identity integration strategies matter for well-being and performance. For example, are people who are better at blending conflicting identities more creative? Are they more adaptive in fast-changing situations? Are they better at solving interpersonal and intergroup conflict? Are they more at risk for maladaptive mindsets and behaviors? We also examine whether people can change the way they manage their different identities.
Culture: When do cultural differences affect people and organizations?
Culture affects our values, or what people believe to be good, right, and moral. We examine how individuals and organizations from different cultures publicly express their values. Questions we ask include: do organizations espouse values that conform to their cultural norms, or do they try to “stand out” and express counter-cultural values? How do our espoused values affect our image? Are there cultural differences in the effectiveness of different values in shaping the way individuals and organizations appear to others?
We also explore the extent to which cultural differences are malleable. For example, can cultural influences be emphasized or diminished based on individual differences or the external context? We think that culture is multi-faceted (that is, people can identify with and embrace more than one cultural identities and values at the same time) and dynamic (that is, people’s cultural identities can change at different times and in different situations.)
Our research further addresses people’s cultural stereotypes of themselves and of others. Many cultural and ethnic groups are subject to both positive and negative stereotypes. These stereotypes can come from outside the group, but also from members within the group. We study the situations where these stereotypes can help or harm the advancement of different social groups, and how these stereotypes impact intergroup relationships.