Language, Cultural Norms, and Behaviours – How the Language Bilingual Chinese
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The purpose of this research was to determine if Chinese- English bicultural individuals show discomfort when conflicting behavioural norms are simultaneously activated. I first identified behaviours that differentiated Canadian and Chinese along a cultural value dimension. Participants then rated four muted video clips of female actors engaged in the behaviours that were either consistent with Chinese or Canadian behavioural norms identified earlier. Within the set four video clips, the language spoken (English versus Chinese) and the topic (representing Canadian values or Chinese values) were crossed, such that each video contained a unique combination of the language and topic. As predicted, when actors spoke Chinese, they were rated more positively for the Chinese value topic than for the Canadian value topic. Additionally, within the Canadian topic, a comparison of the language spoken revealed that actors were rated significantly more positively when they spoke English than when they spoke Chinese. Contrary to predictions, however, European-Canadians in the control condition were better than chance at guessing the language actors spoke. European-Canadians in the experimental condition and Chinese participants in either condition did not perform better than chance levels in the language guessing task. One major weakness of the study was that none of the behaviours thought to reflect Chinese culture were rated significantly differently by Chinese and European-Canadians. For that reason, the results did not completely support the predicted outcomes. Furthermore, European-Canadians’ familiarity with body language associated with speaking English may have accounted for the results of the language guessing task.