Wong, Y.M. and Hong, Y.Y., Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR
The present study examines changes in behavior among biculturals when different cultural knowledge system is temporarily activated. Biculturals are individuals who are constantly exposed to two different cultures and have acquired values of the two cultures. An example will be Hong Kong college students. Alongside with their Chinese ethnic background, they have been exposed extensively to Western culture, through formal education and popular cultures. They are equipped with both Chinese and Western cultural knowledge systems. The present study demonstrates that biculturals behave differently according to what cultural knowledge system is activated. In a 3 (Prime: Chinese, American, Neutral) 2 (Group: Ingroup, Outgroup) between-subjects experiment, bicultural Hong Kong college students were exposed to either Chinese cultural icons (e.g. Great Wall), or American cultural icons (e.g. Statue of Liberty) or geometric figures. Then they played a one-shot Prisoner's Dilemma game with 5 different partners. In the game they had to choose between cooperative or defeat strategy. Their partners were either strangers (outgroup) or their friends (ingroups). Chi-square analysis on the frequency of cooperative choice showed a significant PrimeGroup interaction effect, chisq=6.99, p<.01. There were significantly more cooperative choices in the Chinese prime condition when partners were ingroup members, and less cooperative choices in the American prime conditions. This suggests that the Chinese value of maintaining harmonious relationship with ingroup members guided behavior in the Chinese prime conditions, whereas American value of asserting individual rights dominated in the American prime conditions.