Out-group gestures can lower self-esteem
Culture-specific symbols can prime aspects of identity, like self-esteem, in bilingual-bicultural individuals. The purpose of the present studies was to test whether gestures that are specific to a culture prime self-esteem and, if so, whether it is due to in-group/out-group association. In Study 1, Chinese Canadians had higher self-esteem scores when primed by Chinese number gestures or characters than by English number gestures or words. In Study 2, we taught Chinese number gestures to non-Chinese adults, with half thinking they were Chinese gestures (out-group) and half that they were old fur traders’ gestures (in-group). The self-esteem scores were higher in the in-group condition than the out-group condition. Comparisons with self-esteem scores from previous studies suggest that the out-group conditions were significantly lower than baseline. These results suggest that out-group gesture primes can lower self-esteem.
Keywords: conventional gestures, cultural identity, biculturalism, frame-switching
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