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Exclusionary Reactions to Foreign Cultures: Effects of Simultaneous Exposure to Cultures in Globalized Space

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  • This article was supported by a research grant awarded to Chi-yue Chiu by National Science Foundation Grant (NSF BCS 07–43119).

Carlos J. Torelli, Marketing at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, 321 Nineteenth Avenue South, Suite 3-150, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0438 [e-mail: ctorelli@umn.edu]

Abstract

In globalized economies, people often encounter symbols of dissimilar cultures simultaneously. Research on the psychological effects of simultaneous exposure to dissimilar cultures is therefore strategically located at the intersection of globalization, culture, and psychology. In seven experiments, we showed that exposure to a commercial product that embodies symbols of two dissimilar cultures can enhance perceptibility of cultural differences (Experiments 2, 5, and 6) and perceptions of cultural incompatibility (Experiment 1). Furthermore, following simultaneous exposure to two dissimilar cultures, individuals may display defensive responses to “cultural contamination” of an iconic cultural brand when mortality concerns are salient (Experiments 3, 4, and 7). Finally, although we obtained a robust bicultural exposure effect across experiments, thoughtful elaboration about cultural complexities can attenuate this effect and its attendant defensive responses to “cultural contamination” (Experiments 5–7).

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