ArticlePDF Available

Does Travel Broaden the Mind? Breadth of Foreign Experiences Increases Generalized Trust


Abstract and Figures

Five studies examined the effect of breadth and depth of foreign experiences on generalized trust. Study 1 found that the breadth (number of countries traveled) but not the depth (amount of time spent traveling) of foreign travel experiences predicted trust behavior in a decision-making game. Studies 2 and 3 established a causal effect on generalized trust by experimentally manipulating a focus on the breadth versus depth of foreign experiences. Study 4 used a longitudinal design to establish that broad foreign travel experiences increased generalized trust. Study 5 explored the underlying processes and found that a focus on the differences rather than the similarities among the countries visited was critical in producing greater generalized trust. Across five studies, using various methods (correlational, lab experiment, and longitudinal), samples (United States and Chinese) and operationaliza- tions (trust game and generalized trust scale), we found a robust relationship between the breadth of foreign travel experiences and generalized trust.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Social Psychological and Personality Science
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/1948550613514456
2014 5: 517 originally published online 5 December 2013Social Psychological and Personality Science
Jiyin Cao, Adam D. Galinsky and William W. Maddux
Does Travel Broaden the Mind? Breadth of Foreign Experiences Increases Generalized Trust
Published by:
On behalf of:
Society for Personality and Social Psychology
Association for Research in Personality
European Association of Social Psychology
Society of Experimental and Social Psychology
can be found at:Social Psychological and Personality ScienceAdditional services and information for Alerts:
What is This?
- Dec 5, 2013OnlineFirst Version of Record
- Jun 2, 2014Version of Record >>
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Does Travel Broaden the Mind? Breadth
of Foreign Experiences Increases
Generalized Trust
Jiyin Cao
, Adam D. Galinsky
, and William W. Maddux
Five studies examined the effect of breadth and depth of foreign experiences on generalized trust. Study 1 found that the breadth
(number of countries traveled) but not the depth (amount of time spent traveling) of foreign travel experiences predicted trust
behavior in a decision-making game. Studies 2 and 3 established a causal effect on generalized trust by experimentally manipulating
a focus on the breadth versus depth of foreign experiences. Study 4 used a longitudinal design to establish that broad foreign travel
experiences increased generalized trust. Study 5 explored the underlying processes and found that a focus on the differences
rather than the similarities among the countries visited was critical in producing greater generalized trust. Across five studies,
using various methods (correlational, lab experiment, and longitudinal), samples (United States and Chinese) and operationaliza-
tions (trust game and generalized trust scale), we found a robust relationship between the breadth of foreign travel experiences
and generalized trust.
culture, multicultural experiences, trust, intergroup relations, depth, breadth
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and
many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad,
wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be
acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s
Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad
Mark Twain’s autobiographical account of his travels through
Europe stands as a powerful testament to the importance of for-
eign travel experiences and how they can change our views of
the world. In particular, Twain proposed that certain types of
foreign travel may be beneficial because contact with a wide
range of different people can lead to a more charitable view
of people in general. In other words, foreign travel increases
a sense of trust that not only extends to the groups one encoun-
ters abroad but also can generalize to humanity as a whole.
Generalized trust is the belief in the benevolence of human
nature (Yamagishi & Yamagishi, 1994). This type of trust is a
key element of successful societies: It is an effective indicator
of social capital (Coleman, 1988; Putnam, 1993) and is posi-
tively associated with economic growth (Knack & Keefer,
1997) and civic engagement (Uslaner & Brown, 2005). It is
especially critical in an increasingly globalized economy,
where interactions with unfamiliar others are inevitable and
often require a certain basic level of trust in others to function
effectively. However, given that trust involves making oneself
vulnerable to another (Rousseau, Sitkin, Burt, & Camerer,
1998) as well as the fact that out-group members, foreigners,
or strangers are typically viewed more suspiciously than
in-group members (Tajfel, 1981; Tajfel & Turner, 1986; Yuki,
Maddux, Brewer, & Takemura, 2005), generalized trust is
likely to be especially difficult to establish in foreign or
unfamiliar environments. For this reason, it is important to
empirically explore Twain’s provocative hypothesis that
foreign experiences will increase generalized trust.
Research on the effect of intergroup contact on generalized
trust is both sparse and contradictory. Some of this work has
shown that intergroup contact can increase trust but only for the
specific group involved in the interaction. For example, Catho-
lics and Protestants in Northern Ireland trusted each other more
after having interactions with each other (Paolini, Hewstone, &
Cairns, 2007; Tam, Hewstone, Kenworthy, & Cairns, 2009),
but such trust often does not generalize toward other groups.
Similarly, taking the perspective of African Americans pro-
duces more positive attitudes toward African Americans but
does not produce more positive attitudes toward other
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France
Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Corresponding Author:
Jiyin Cao, Northwestern University, 2001 Sheridan, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.
Social Psychological and
Personality Science
2014, Vol. 5(5) 517-525
ªThe Author(s) 2013
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/1948550613514456
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from
disadvantaged groups (e.g., women, gays; Vescio, Sechrist, &
Paolucci, 2003). Although depth of intergroup contact (i.e.,
interracial roommates, friends, mixed schools) has been pro-
posed to be helpful in producing a generalization effect, mixed
results have emerged thus far across different studies (Gaither
& Sommers, 2013; Levin, van Laar, & Sidanius, 2003; Van
Laar, Levin, Sinclair, & Sidanius, 2005). Thus, it remains
unclear what the exact circumstances are for intergroup contact
to facilitate generalized trust.
Breadth Versus Depth of Foreign Experiences
Consistent with Mark Twain’s assertion, we propose that for-
eign travel experiences may serve as one way to facilitate an
increase in generalized trust. However, given the difficulty for
intergroup contact to increase a generalized sense of trust, we
suggest that it is important to differentiate between two distinct
aspects of foreign experiences: the depth of experience (i.e., the
length of time one spends abroad) and the breadth of experi-
ence (i.e., the number of countries one has visited). While depth
has been shown to be associated with adapting to a local culture
and subsequent enhanced creativity (Maddux & Galinsky,
2009), breadth captures the diversity of foreign experiences,
an aspect of multicultural experiences that has received very
little empirical attention thus far.
We propose that spending time in a foreign environment
may be a critical experience that increases generalized trust,
but especially when those foreign experiences involve broad
experiences that afford the opportunity to engage with a variety
of foreign individuals rather than individuals from just one spe-
cific group (i.e., deep experiences). Indeed, one possible reason
for the inability of some intergroup contact experiences to
increase a sense of generalized trust may be that most studies
involved exposure to only one type of out-group. However,
experiences that allow for contact with many different cultural
or ethnic groups may increase the likelihood that one’s impres-
sions derived from interactions with these different groups will
be generalized and applied to other groups and people. These
opportunities for contact with diverse groups are likely to occur
during broad foreign experiences that take place across several
countries. Deeper foreign experiences, on the other hand, such
as extended time in a single country, may be less likely to lead
to the diversity of exposure that is necessary to produce a
generalized effect.
We propose that the breadth of foreign experiences may be
particularly important for facilitating generalized trust because
breadth provides the variety and diversity of experiences that
are necessary to produce generalizations and learning. Indeed,
Kelley’s classic analysis of variance attribution theory (Kelley,
1967) highlights the necessity of variance as being a critical
factor when forming a generalized attribution of a target. For
example, repeated information from dissimilar sources has
been shown to be more valuable than information from similar
sources in forming impressions (Himmelfarb, 1972). Evidence
from the intergroup contact literature also supports the impor-
tance of breadth of experiences in leading to generalizability.
For example, neighborhood ethnical diversity is associated
with lower bias toward a number of different out-groups
(Schmid, Hewstone, & Al Ramiah, 2013). Similarly, a diverse
set of intergroup contact experiences (e.g., race, religion,
nationality, culture, social class), rather than deep intergroup
contact with just one category, predicts more favorable inter-
group attitudes in general (Pettigrew, 1997). Further support
for our hypotheses comes from studies showing that general-
ized trust is higher in social contexts that have greater social
mobility (Macy & Sato, 2002; Yamagishi & Yamagishi,
1994), which provide more opportunities to interact with a
diverse set of unfamiliar individuals compared to lower mobi-
lity contexts, where people mostly interact with known others.
Overall, then, we predicted that broad rather than deep experi-
ences within foreign environments would be more likely to
produce generalized trust.
We conducted five studies to test the prediction that the breadth
more than the depth of foreign experiences will increase gener-
alized trust. In Study 1, we tested whether the breadth (i.e., the
number of foreign countries one has traveled to) more than the
depth (i.e. the length of time one has traveled abroad) of foreign
experiences predicts behavior in the trust game (Berg, Dic-
khaut, & Mccabe, 1995). In Study 2 and Study 3, we estab-
lished a causal relationship by directly manipulating a focus
on broad or deep foreign experiences prior to a trust game
(Study 2) and the generalized trust scale (Study 3; Yamagishi
& Yamagishi, 1994). Study 4 used a longitudinal design and
the generalized trust scale to assess people’s generalized trust
before (Time 1) and after (Time 2) traveling abroad; this design
allowed us to capture whether the number of countries partici-
pants traveled to during their trip predicted increases in gener-
alized trust from Time 1 to Time 2. In Study 5, we directly
tested our hypothesis that a diversity of experiences is critical
by manipulating a difference or similarity focus to explore
whether a difference focus increased generalized trust.
Study 1
Correlational Evidence
Study 1 explored the relationship between the breadth of for-
eign travel experiences and generalized trust. We predicted that
the breadth more than depth would predict behavior in the trust
game (Berg et al., 1995), even after controlling for demo-
graphic and personality factors.
Participants and Procedure
A total of 237 undergraduates (142 women) played the trust
game in the laboratory (Berg et al., 1995) and then filled out
a subsequent survey assessing foreign experiences and person-
ality and demographic variables.
518 Social Psychological and Personality Science 5(5)
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Foreign Travel Experiences
Participants reported the breadth (the number of countries they
had traveled to; M¼4.05, standard deviation [SD]¼3.15) and
the depth (the length of time they had traveled abroad; M¼
10.53 weeks, SD ¼15.28) of their foreign travel experiences
across their entire lifetime.
Control Variables
We controlled for the Big Five personality traits (e.g., Costa &
McCrae, 1985), most of which have been shown to be related to
trust (e.g., trust is positively related to extroversion and agree-
ableness and negatively related to neuroticism, Evans &
Revelle, 2008). The five traits included (1) extroversion, (2)
agreeableness, (3) neuroticism, (4) conscientiousness, and (5)
openness to experience. We also controlled for gender, age, and
ethnicity (Caucasians or not).
Trust Game
The trust game was developed as an overt, behavioral measure
of trust (Berg et al., 1995). One person plays the role of a ‘‘sen-
der,’’ whereas the other person plays the role of a ‘‘receiver.’
The sender decides how much of a US$10 endowment to send
to the receiver and is told that this sent amount will triple in
value for the receiver. The receiver then decides how much
of this tripled amount he or she will return to the sender. The
logic behind this game is that the initial amount of money sent
by the sender is an indicator of trust toward the receiver
because any money sent places the sender at risk of not receiv-
ing it back, rendering the sender vulnerable to the receiver’s
subsequent decision (Rousseau et al., 1998). Thus, the amount
of money sent is a proxy for the amount of trust the sender has
in the receiver.
Participants were told that they were going to play this game
with another participant in the lab and that they would be ran-
domly assigned to the role of the sender or the receiver. In actu-
ality, all participants were assigned to the role of the sender.
Given that players’ identities were anonymous, the amount of
money they sent to the receiver (a presumed stranger) provides
a measure of their generalized trust (Holm & Danielson, 2005;
Lount & Pettit, 2012).
The correlations between all the variables are presented in
Table 1. A regression model that included only the breadth and
the depth of foreign travel experiences revealed that breadth
predicted the amount of money sent in the trust game, B¼
.17, standard error (SE)¼.08, b¼.16, p¼.03, but the effect
of depth was not significant, B¼.00, SE ¼.00, b¼.10, p¼
.20 (see Model 1, Table 2). This effect of breadth held even
when controlling for demographic and personality variables,
B¼.16, SE ¼.08, b¼.16, p¼.04; whereas the effect of depth
was still not significant, B¼.00, SE ¼.00, b¼.08, p¼.31
(see Model 2, Table 2). We also explored the interaction effect
by adding the interaction term of breadth and depth and it was
not significant, p¼.80.
We conducted several additional robustness checks. First, to
test for the effect of outliers, we identified outliers using stu-
dentized deleted residual greater than 3; no outliers were iden-
tified. We also used Cook’s Distance as the outlier criterion,
with the critical value at 0.01688 (4/N). Nine outliers were
identified, but importantly, breadth still predicted the amount
of money sent in the trust game after excluding these outliers,
B¼.18, SE ¼.08, b¼.16, p¼.03. Second, we log trans-
formed the breadth and depth data to reduce skewness (adding
1 before the transformation to eliminate 0 values). The effect of
breadth still held, B¼2.54, SE ¼1.28, b¼.23, p¼.048.
Third, we explored whether there was a nonlinear relationship
between breadth and money sent; the quadratic term was not
significant, p¼.57, suggesting that a linear effect is a better
representation for the relationship between breadth and the
amount of money sent in the trust game.
Study 2
Experimental Evidence
Study 2 aimed to establish a causal relationship between the
breadth of foreign travel experiences and generalized trust.
We had participants recall either a broad or a deep foreign
experience and examined the effect of this experimental
manipulation on decisions in the trust game.
A total of 51 undergraduates (32 women) were randomly
assigned to one of two experimental conditions: broad travel
versus deep travel. Because research has found that temporarily
activating a psychological construct typically requires partici-
pants to initially have that experience accessible in memory
(e.g., Maddux, Adam, & Galinsky, 2010), we only sampled stu-
dents who had spent a significant amount of time in one coun-
try and had been on a trip involving more than two countries to
ensure that both experiences could be made mentally
Experimental Condition
In the breadth condition, participants recalled a trip that
involved more than two countries and described the experience
in detail. For example, they described what happened, how they
felt, what they saw, did, and thought. In the depth condition,
participants recalled a trip where they had spent a significant
amount of time in one country.
Generalized Trust Measure
After the recall task, participants played the same trust game as
in Study 1.
Cao et al. 519
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Participants who recalled a broad foreign travel experience
(M¼6.21, SD ¼3.43) sent significantly more money
in the trust game than those who recalled a deep travel expe-
rience (M¼4.33, SD ¼2.82), t(49) ¼2.08, p¼.04,
d¼.60, providing causal evidence for the role of breadth
of foreign experiences in the development of greater gener-
alized trust.
Study 3
Experimental Evidence
Study 3 aimed to conceptually replicate the causal relationship
with a different measurement for generalized trust. We also
tested whether the country-level trust scores of visited coun-
tries moderated the effects.
A total of 117 undergraduates (78 women, M
¼20.74, SD ¼
1.73) were randomly assigned to one of the two experimental
conditions: broad travel versus deep travel. Similar to Study
2, we only recruited participants who had those travel experi-
ences before.
Experimental Condition
In the breadth condition, participants recalled and wrote an
essay on travel experiences in three different countries. In con-
trast to Study 2, where participants did not identify their desti-
nations, the current manipulation allowed us to identify the
exact countries visited. The depth condition was the same as
in Study 2.
Generalized Trust Measure
After the recall task, participants answered the 6-item general-
ized trust scale (Yamagishi & Yamagishi, 1994). An example
item included ‘‘Most people are trustworthy’’ (a¼.84).
Participants who recalled broad foreign travel experiences
(M¼5.01, SD ¼.83) had significantly higher scores in the
generalized trust survey than those who recalled a deep foreign
travel experience (M¼4.68, SD ¼.87), t(115) ¼2.10, p¼.04,
d¼.39. Thus, Study 3 showed the robustness of the relation-
ship by using a different manipulation and generalized trust
We obtained the country-level trust scores from the World
Values Survey (WVS)2 for the countries participants listed.
Two participants were dropped off for this analysis because
trust scores for the countries they listed (e.g. Bahamas, Nicar-
country-level trust scores moderated the effect of condition
Table 1. Correlation Table for All Variables, Study 1.
Mean SD 1 234 567891011
1. Money sent in trust game 4.23 3.33
2. Breadth 4.05 3.15 .11
3. Depth 10.53 15.28 .02 .48** —
4. Gender (0 ¼male,1¼female)* .02 .12 —
5. Age 19.59 1.30 .10 .12 .04 .15** —
6. Ethnicity group (0 ¼non-White, 1 ¼White) .48 .50 .07 .01 .05 .11
.15* —
7. Extroversion 4.74 1.35 .07 .07 .03 .04 .06 .07 —
8. Conscientiousness 5.31 1.16 .13
.07 .03 .08 .13 .02 .10 —
9. Agreeableness 4.72 .99 .06 .01 .00 .00 .04 .02 .20** .07 —
10. Neuroticism 3.16 1.30 .07 .08 .07 .16* .11
.01 .90 .10 .07 —
11. Openness 5.35 1.08 .01 .14* .05 .00 .01 .04 .38** .04 .14* .09 —
Note.SD ¼standard deviation. N¼237.
p< .10. ** p< .01. * p< .05.
Table 2. Personality/Demographic and Foreign Travel Experiences
Predictors of Money Sent in a Trust Game (N¼237), Study 1.
Independent Variables Model 1 Model 2
Breadth .17* (.08) .16* (.08)
Depth .003 (.03) .00 (.00)
Gender (0 ¼male,1¼female).83
Age .35* (.17)
Ethnicity group
(0 ¼non-White,1¼white)
.83 (.45)
Extroversion .05 (.09)
Conscientiousness .14 (.10)
Agreeableness .12 (.11)
Neuroticism .08 (.09)
Openness .06 (.11)
Constant 3.77** (.35) 12.64** (3.83)
Note. The table represents unstandardized regression coefficients, with stan-
dard errors in parentheses.
p< .10. ** p< .01. * p< .05.
520 Social Psychological and Personality Science 5(5)
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from
(breadth vs. depth) on generalized trust. We averaged the
country-level trust ratings of the three countries in the breadth
condition. We entered condition and country-level trust on the
first step and added in their interaction on the second step to
predict generalized trust. Breadth still predicted generalized
trust, B¼.32, SE ¼.15, b¼.19, p¼.04. Importantly, the
interaction was not significant, B¼.01, SE ¼.01, b¼.32,
We also tested whether participants recalled countries with
different country-level trust depending on condition. The coun-
tries that participants recalled in the breadth and the depth con-
ditions did not differ in country-level trust, t(113) ¼.86, p¼.39.
Thus, the result suggested that the effect is independent of
country-level trust scores.
Study 4
Longitudinal Evidence
Study 4 used a longitudinal design to test whether broad foreign
travel experiences lead to increases in generalized trust over
Participants and Procedure
A total of 391 participants (264 women; age: M¼28.61, SD ¼
5.74) were recruited from an online research platform in China.
Participants were people who planned to travel abroad in the
near future. Participants were told that the study was composed
of two phases of online surveys and that they would be paid
with a gift equal to US$10 for taking part in the study. A total
of 245 participants (167 women; age: M¼28.37, SD ¼5.79)
finished both the Time 1 and the Time 2 measures. Of these
participants, 197 traveled abroad during this period. We
included all participants who completed both time periods in
the analyses.
Time 1
We measured generalized trust using the generalized trust scale
(a¼.84; M¼5.38, SD ¼.80). We collected Big Five person-
ality traits and demographic information. We also controlled
for socioeconomic status (SES) by asking participants to mark
their perceived position in the society (Adler, Epel, Castel-
lazzo, & Ickovics, 2000), because previous work has shown
SES predicts generalized trust (Delhey & Newton, 2003; Lount
& Pettit, 2012).
Time 2
Two months after Time 1, participants received another survey
link via e-mail. The survey contained the same generalized
trust scale taken at Time 1 (Time 2: a¼.92; M¼5.60, SD
¼.81), in addition to new questions assessing the breadth
(i.e., the number of countries that they had traveled to) and the
depth (i.e., the length of time that they had spent traveling
abroad) of their foreign travel experiences over the previous
2 months.
The correlations of all the variables are presented in Table 3.
We first ran a regression model including only the breadth and
the depth of foreign travel experiences as predictors of
increases in generalized trust from Time 1 to Time 2 (Time 1
generalized trust subtracted from Time 2 generalized trust).
Breadth predicted increases in generalized trust, B¼.14, SE
¼.06, b¼.18, p¼.02, but the effect of depth was not signif-
icant, B¼.005, SE ¼.005, b¼.088, p¼.27 (see Model 1,
Table 4). Next, we conducted a second regression model con-
trolling for demographic and personality variables. Again,
breadth predicted increases in generalized trust, B¼.14, SE
¼.06, b¼.18, p¼.02, whereas depth did not, B¼.006,
SE ¼.005, b¼.10, p¼.19 (see Model 2, Table 4). We also
examined our predictions by using generalized trust at Time 2
as the dependent variable and generalized trust at Time 1 as a
control variable. Again, breadth predicted generalized trust at
Time 2 after controlling for generalized trust at Time 1, person-
ality, and demographic variables, B¼.12, SE ¼.06, b¼.14,
p¼.04, but depth did not, p¼.25. We also explored the inter-
action effect by adding the interaction term of breadth and
depth and it was not significant, p¼.76.
We conducted several robustness checks. First, we tested
whether there were outliers driving the result. We used studen-
tized deleted residual greater than 3, which identified three out-
liers, and Cook’s Distance greater than the critical value at
0.0163 (4/N), which identified 17 outliers. Breadth still
predicted increases in generalized trust after eliminating the
studentized deleted residual outliers, B¼.18, SE ¼.06,
b¼.26, p< .01, and the Cook’s Distance outliers, B¼.19,
SE ¼.06, b¼.30, p< .01. Second, we log transformed the
breadth and depth data to reduce skewness (adding 1 before the
transformation to eliminate 0 values); breadth still marginally
predicted increases in generalized trust, B¼.84, SE ¼.52,
b¼.20, p¼.10, and the effect became significant if we elim-
inated the outliers in the analysis, B¼1.17, SE ¼.47, b¼.31,
p¼.01, for outliers identified by studentized deleted residual;
B¼.98, SE ¼.45, b¼.29, p¼.03 for outliers identified by
Cook’s Distance. Third, we explored whether there was a non-
linear relationship between breadth and increases in general-
ized trust. The quadratic term for breadth was not significant,
p¼.12, suggesting that a linear effect is a better representation
for the relationship between breadth and increases in general-
ized trust.
We also explored whether the means of the country-level
trust scores moderated the relationship between breadth and
increases in generalized trust. Given that the data of many
visited countries was missing in the WVS, we had 209 data
points available in this analysis. The interaction term was not
significant, B¼.001, SE ¼.003, b¼.07, p¼.77, demonstrat-
ing that the country-level trust scores did not influence the
Cao et al. 521
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Table 3. Correlation Table for All Variables, Study 4.
Mean SD 1 2345678910111213
Generalized trust change .22 .79
Breadth 1.24 1.01 .13*
Depth (Days) 10.82 12.77 .02 .60**
Generalized trust (T1) 5.38 .80 .48** .05 .02 —
Generalized trust (T2) 5.60 .81 .50** .07 .00 .52**
Gender (0 ¼male,1¼female) .10 .01 .05 .03 —
Age 28.37 5.79 .08 .10 .09 .13* .05 .03
SES 5.30 1.32 .17** .04 .02 .21** .04 .00 .02
Extroversion 4.20 1.24 .00 .00 .09 .12
.08 .09 —
Conscientious 5.15 1.05 .09 .05 .04 .16* .07 .09 .24** .03 .04
Agreeableness 5.32 .96 .19** .09 .08 .28** .09 .07 .11
.06 .02 .02
Neuroticism 3.26 1.08 .18** .01 .11
.22** .05 .14* .21** .16* .29** .38** .39** —
Openness 5.01 1.10 .09 .05 .06 .14* .04 .10 .06 .07 .48** .13* .08 .37** —
Note. SES ¼socioeconomic status; SD ¼standard deviation. N¼245.
** p< .01. * p< .05.
p< .10.
522 at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Study 5
The Importance of a Focus on Diversity
Study 5 tested one possible underlying process for the relation-
ship between the breadth of foreign experiences and the gener-
alized trust. Because we propose that breadth increases
generalized trust by providing a diverse set of experiences that
is critical for the generalization process, we manipulated a
focus on differences versus similarities among the visited coun-
tries. Previous research has demonstrated that listing the differ-
ences or similarities between two targets can successfully
activate a difference or similarity mind-set (e.g. Mussweiler,
2001). We predicted that a difference focus would lead to
higher generalized trust than a similarity focus.
A total of 63 undergraduates (43 women, M
¼20.41, SD ¼
1.68) were randomly assigned to one of the two experimental
conditions: a difference focus versus a similarity focus.
Because participants were asked to first recall and write an
essay on broad travel experiences, only participants who had
traveled to three or more countries were eligible to participate
in the study.
Experimental Condition
Participants first recalled travel experiences in three different
countries, as in Study 3. Next, participants were asked to list
either the similarities or the differences among the three coun-
tries that they just wrote an essay on. Thus, by holding breadth
constant and manipulating the salience of differences versus
similarities, we sought to directly test our contention that it is
the variance/diversity of foreign experiences that facilitates the
trust generalization process.
Generalized Trust Measure
Next, participants completed the generalized trust scale used in
the previous studies (a¼.83).
Participants who focused on the differences among broad for-
eign travel experiences (M¼5.23, SD ¼.75) had significantly
higher generalized trust than those who focused on the simila-
rities (M¼4.75, SD ¼.95), t(61) ¼2.21, p¼.03, d¼.56.
Having participants focus on the diversity of their foreign
experiences increased their generalized trust. The experiment
provides supports for our proposed mechanism—the diversity
of experiences provided by broad foreign experiences plays a
key role in increasing generalized trust because diversity is
essential for the generalization process.
Across five studies, regardless of the types of research method,
the cultural samples and operationalizations of generalized
trust, we consistently found a robust relationship between the
breadth of foreign travel experiences and increases in general-
ized trust. Our longitudinal study and experiments provide cau-
sal evidence that broad foreign experiences led to greater
generalized trust. Our final experiment offered direct evidence
for the idea that focusing on the diversity of one’s foreign
experiences increases generalized trust.
Despite the importance of generalized trust in interpersonal
interactions, most research on generalized trust comes from
economics, sociology, and political science, which focus on
macro-environmental factors, such as income inequality
(Neville, 2012), wealth (Delhey & Newton, 2005), and corrup-
tion (Rothstein & Uslaner, 2005). Our research offers an
individual and developmental perspective by showing the
impact of foreign experiences on generalized trust.
A critical contribution of the current article is that it makes a
novel distinction between the breadth and depth of foreign
experiences. Globalization has given birth to a host of research
on the psychological effects of foreign experiences, most of
which has only investigated the effect of deep foreign experi-
ences (e.g., Maddux & Galinsky, 2009). Less research has
addressed the distinctive role of breadth of foreign experiences,
either within the multicultural experiences literature or within
the intergroup contact literature, and the differential psycholo-
gical benefits provided by broader versus deeper experiences.
The distinction between breadth and depth is critical in
practice, because the previous focus on the depth of intergroup
contact (i.e., repeated interactions with the same individuals or
across many individuals but from the same group) has led to
policy prescriptions that often emphasize the depth of interac-
tions, such as intergroup roommates and friendships (Pettigrew
& Tropp, 2006). However, these deeper experiences within a
single out-group, while helpful for future interactions toward
that particular out-group, may also result in limited
Table 4. Personality/Demographic and Foreign Travel Experiences
Predictors of Increases in Generalized Trust from Time 1 to Time 2
(N¼245), Study 4.
Independent Variable Model 1 Model 2
Breadth .14* (0.06) .14* (0.06)
Depth .005 (0.005) .006 (0.005)
Gender (0 ¼male,1 ¼female).15 (0.11)
Age .008 (0.009)
SES .09* (0.04)
Extroversion .06 (0.05)
Conscientiousness .004 (0.05)
Agreeableness .10
Neuroticism .08 (0.06)
Openness .06 (0.05)
Constant .22** (.05) .47* (.19)
Note.SES¼socioeconomic status. The table represents unstandardized
regression coefficients, with standard errors in parentheses.
p< .10. ** p< .01. * p< .05.
Cao et al. 523
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from
generalizability toward other groups and individuals. Our
research suggests the importance of broad diverse experiences
in creating a high trust environment across a potentially larger
number of groups and individuals.
Across our studies, we never found significant main effects
for depth or a significant interaction between depth and
breadth. One open question is what role depth of foreign
experiences might play in the development of generalized trust.
For example, we found that breadth and depth were highly cor-
related, suggesting that both experiences are likely to be impor-
tant. Indeed, depth of experience likely provides the time and
opportunity for intergroup contact that then allows for breadth
to drive the generalization process. Thus, it may be that some
threshold of time spent in different countries is initially impor-
tant, with further increases in breadth subsequently becoming
the critical factor once a threshold of depth is reached. Indeed,
we would expect that foreign experiences that involve very
brief visits with minimal contact with others, even if across
many countries, are unlikely to result in the positive gains in
generalized trust that we have found here. Nevertheless, it does
seem that the typical broad foreign experience, at least as expe-
rienced by participants in our samples, does involve enough
contact to affect the generalization process. Future research
should do more to explore the role of depth in the development
of generalized trust, investigating whether a threshold level of
depth is required and what that threshold might be.
One remaining question is to what extent broad foreign
experiences overlap with the concept of residential mobility
(e.g., Oishi, 2010). It is important to note that high residential
mobility does not necessarily imply broad experiences
(i.e., several repeated moves within one city or state would
be considered residentially mobile but would not imply breadth
of experiences). Future research could explore whether broad
domestic experiences within a single country lead to higher
generalized trust.
Future research should also continue to explore how people
learn from experiences and develop generalized expectations
toward others. Negative attitudes toward target groups persist
because negative expectations create avoidance and reduced
contacts (Fazio, Eiser, & Shook, 2004). This is especially
problematic when these expectations are false but are never
subject to disconfirmation because of avoidance (Fazio et al.,
2004). Broad foreign experiences may serve to disconfirm
negative expectations regarding the general trustworthiness
of others. Although it is certainly the case that not all foreign
travel experiences will be positive, individuals who travel
broadly are more likely than those without such experiences
to have at least some negative expectations disconfirmed.
The current research provides support for study abroad
programs and expatriate assignments in organizations, but with
a twist—seeing more of the world may be as or more important
than spending a longer period of time seeing less of it.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to
the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, author-
ship, and/or publication of this article.
1. We focused on foreign traveling experiences rather than foreign
living experiences because there was too little variance in breadth
of foreign living experiences, that is, the mean was less than one
country (M¼.60, standard deviation ¼.80).
2. Idioma¼I&Seccion
Adler, N. E., Epel, E. S., Castellazzo, G., & Ickovics, J. R. (2000).
Relationship of subjective and objective social status with psycho-
logical and physiological functioning: Preliminary data in healthy
white women. Health Psychology,19, 586–592. doi:10.1037/0278-
Berg, J., Dickhaut, J., & Mccabe, K. (1995). Trust, reciprocity, and
social-history. Games and Economic Behavior,10, 122–142.
Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human-capi-
tal. American Journal of Sociology,94, 95–120. doi:10.1086/
Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1985). The NEO Personality Inven-
tory manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Delhey, J., & Newton, K. (2003). Who trusts? The origins of social
trust in seven societies. European Societies,5, 93–137. doi:10.
Delhey, J., & Newton, K. (2005). Predicting cross-national levels of
social trust: Global pattern or nordic exceptionalism? European
Sociological Review,21, 311–327. doi:10.1093/Esr/Jci022
Evans, A. M., & Revelle, W. (2008). Survey and behavioral measure-
ments of interpersonal trust. Journal of Research in Personality,
42, 1585–1593.
Fazio, R. H., Eiser, J. R., & Shook, N. J. (2004). Attitude formation
through exploration: Valence asymmetries. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology,87, 293–311. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.87.3.
Gaither, S., & Sommers, S. (2013). Living with another race
roommate shaples whites’ behavior in subsequent diverse settings.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,49, 272–276.
Himmelfarb, S. (1972). Integration and attribution theories in person-
ality impression formation. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology,23, 309–313. doi:10.1037/H0033126
Holm, H. J., & Danielson, A. (2005). Tropic trust versus nordic
trust: Experimental evidence from Tanzania and Sweden. Eco-
nomic Journal,115, 505–532. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0297.2005.
Kelley, H. H. (1967). Attribution theory in social psychology. In D.
Levine (Ed.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation.Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press.
Knack, S., & Keefer, P. (1997). Does social capital have an economic
payoff? A cross-country investigation. Quarterly Journal of
Economics,112, 1251–1288. doi:10.1162/003355300555475
524 Social Psychological and Personality Science 5(5)
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Levin, S., van Laar, C., & Sidanius, J. (2003). The effects of ingroup
and outgroup friendships on ethnic attitudes in college: A longitu-
dinal study. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations,6, 76–92.
Lount, R. B., & Pettit, N. C. (2012). The social context of trust: The
role of status. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision
Processes,117, 15–23. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2011.07.005
Macy, M. W., & Sato, Y. (2002). Trust, cooperation, and market
formation in the US and Japan. Proceedings of the National Acad-
emy of Sciences of the United States of America,99, 7214–7220.
Maddux, W. W., Adam, H., & Galinsky, A. D. (2010). When in Rome
... learn why the Romans do what they do: How multicultural
learning experiences facilitate creativity. Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin,36, 731–741.
Maddux, W. W., & Galinsky, A. D. (2009). Cultural borders and mental
barriers: The relationship between living abroad and creativity.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,96, 1047–1061.
Mussweiler, T. (2001). Focus of comparison as a determinant of
assimilation versus contrast in social comparison. Personality and
Social Psychology Bulletin,27, 38–47. doi:10.1177/
Neville, L. (2012). Do economic equality and generalized trust inhibit
academic dishonesty? Evidence from state-level search-engine
queries. Psychological Science,23, 339–345. doi:10.1177/
Oishi, S. (2010). The psychology of residential mobility:
Implications for the self, social relationships, and well-being.
Perspectives on Psychological Science,5, 5–21. doi:10.1177/
Paolini, S., Hewstone, M., & Cairns, E. (2007). Direct and indirect
intergroup friendship effects: Testing the moderating role of
the affective-cognitive bases of prejudice. Personality and
Social Psychology Bulletin,33, 1406–1420. doi:10.1177/
Pettigrew, T. F. (1997). Generalized intergroup contact effects on
prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,23,
173–185. doi:10.1177/0146167297232006
Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2006). A meta-analytic test of
intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology,90, 751–783. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.90.5.751
Rothstein, B., & Uslaner, E. M. (2005). All for all—Equality, corrup-
tion, and social trust. World Politics,58, 41–72. doi:10.1353/Wp.
Rousseau, D. M., Sitkin, S. B., Burt, R. S., & Camerer, C. (1998). Not
so different after all: A cross-discipline view of trust. Academy of
Management Review,23, 393–404.
Schmid, K., Hewstone, M., & Al Ramiah, A. (2013). Neighborhood
diversity and social identity complexity: Implications for inter-
group relations. Social Psychological and Personality Science,4,
135–142. doi:10.1177/1948550612446972
Tajfel, H. (1981). Human groups and social categories. Cambridge,
England: Cambridge University Press.
Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of inter-
group behavior. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology
of Intergroup Relations (pp. 7–24). Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall.
Tam, T., Hewstone, M., Kenworthy, J., & Cairns, E. (2009). Inter-
group trust in Northern Ireland. Personality and Social Psychology
Bulletin,35, 45–59. doi:10.1177/0146167208325004
Uslaner, E. M., & Brown, M. (2005). Inequality, trust, and civic
engagement. American Politics Research,33, 868–894. doi:10.
Van Laar, C., Levin, S., Sinclair, S., & Sidanius, J. (2005). The effect
of university roommate contact on ethnic attitudes and behavior.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,41, 329–345. doi:10.
Vescio, T. K., Sechrist, G. B., & Paolucci, M. P. (2003). Perspective
taking and prejudice reduction: the mediational role of empathy
arousal and situational attributions. European Journal of Social
Psychology,33, 455–472. doi:10.1002/Ejsp.163
Yamagishi, T., & Yamagishi, M. (1994). Trust and commitment in the
United-States and Japan. Motivation and Emotion,18, 129–166.
Yuki, M., Maddux, W. W., Brewer, M. B., & Takemura, K. (2005).
Cultural differences in relationship and group-based trust.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,31, 48–62.
Author Biographies
Jiyin Cao is a Ph.D. student at the Kellogg School of Management at
Northwestern University. Her research focuses on trust, diversity, cul-
ture, and network structure.
Adam D. Galinsky is the Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business at
the Columbia Business School at Columbia University. His research
and teaching focus on power, diversity, negotiations, and ethics.
William W. Maddux is an Associate Professor of Organisational
Behaviour at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. His research focuses
on culture, creativity, negotiations, and decision-making.
Cao et al. 525
at NORTHWESTERN UNIV LIBRARY on June 13, 2014spp.sagepub.comDownloaded from
... Control variables. Consistent with past research (e.g., Cao et al., 2014), we assessed participants' age, gender, and self-rated Big Five personality traits (i.e., openness to experiences, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability; Gosling, Rentfrow, & Swann, 2003) as pertinent individual-level control variables. In addition, to control for the moral environments of home country and destination country, for each participant we coded (a) the CPI of home country, (b) the CPI of destination country, (c) the CI of home country, (d) the CI of destination country, (e) the difference between (a) and (b) as a measure of how much more/less corrupt the home country is relative to the destination country, and (f) the difference between (c) and (d) as a measure of how much more/less iniquitous the home country is relative to the destination country. ...
... The dynamic constructivist approach to culture and cognition (Hong, Ip, Chiu, Morris, & Menon, 2001;Hong et al., 2000) suggests that when different cultural experiences are cognitively available to a person, their relative accessibility determines which type of experience will have a greater influence on subsequent thoughts and behaviors. Indeed, many studies have demonstrated that past foreign experiences can be cognitively reactivated by having people recall and describe them in detail (e.g., Cao et al., 2014;Maddux, Adam, & Galinsky, 2010;Maddux & Galinsky, 2009). For example, when priming individuals-all of whom had previously lived abroad-to recall and write about either an experience of living abroad or an experience of living in their hometown, Maddux and Galinsky (2009, Study 3) found that the former group temporarily exhibited higher creativity than did the latter group. ...
... Participants indicated the countries that they had visited from a list of the 50 most visited countries compiled by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (2008). Following past research (Cao et al., 2014), we operationalized the breadth of foreign experiences as the number of foreign countries that participants had visited (M ϭ 8.35, SD ϭ 5.56). ...
Full-text available
Because of the unprecedented pace of globalization, foreign experiences are increasingly common and valued. Past research has focused on the benefits of foreign experiences, including enhanced creativity and reduced intergroup bias. In contrast, the present work uncovers a potential dark side of foreign experiences: increased immoral behavior. We propose that broad foreign experiences (i.e., experiences in multiple foreign countries) foster not only cognitive flexibility but also moral flexibility. Using multiple methods (longitudinal, correlational, and experimental), 8 studies (N Ͼ 2,200) establish that broad foreign experiences can lead to immoral behavior by increasing moral relativism-the belief that morality is relative rather than absolute. The relationship between broad foreign experiences and immoral behavior was robust across a variety of cultural populations (anglophone, francophone), life stages (high school students, university students, MBA students, middle-aged adults), and 7 different measures of immorality. As individuals are exposed to diverse cultures, their moral compass may lose some of its precision.
... In terms of the decision to pursue specific opportunities, little is known about the differential role of multicultural experiences, but it is likely that they may influence both one's attitudes towards oneself and those they are working with. Indeed, broader multicultural experiences activate comparative processes that influence interpersonal attitudes and behaviours such as trust formation and reduced intergroup biases (Cao et al., 2014;Cao & Galinsky, 2020), indeed as one group might be marginalized when compared to the other . The appraisal part of this model suggests that these intrapersonal and interpersonal effects are only likely to be realized when an individual's multicultural experiences are perceived to be generally positive rather than negative (Maddux et al., 2020). ...
International entrepreneurship (IE) has emerged as its own domain—born out of the intersection of international business and entrepreneurship research. This fusion of disciplines has provided considerable value for international business by expanding its traditional focus beyond corporations to include new ventures. However, following an early period of rapid growth, evidence herein suggests that IEs impact and contributions have begun to wane. Through our analysis, we contend that there is a restrictive interpretation of what ‘international’ represents: cross-border dynamics are chiefly interpreted to mean geographic contexts for new venture outcomes. While valuable, this niche is limiting and leaves many of the foundational questions in entrepreneurship untouched. We argue that a shift in the directional focus of IE is required: to include intercultural dynamics as antecedents to entrepreneurial action, both international and domestic. Further, we discuss how adopting a broader international lens, used through management, can foster valuable insights from domains such as cross-cultural psychology and international organizational behaviour. This chapter outlines a research agenda for investigating how intercultural constructs underpinning cross-border dynamics influence the discovery, enactment, evaluation, and exploitation of opportunities at large.
Research finds that going far from home has many positive psychological outcomes such as enhanced creative thinking, and research on creativity reveals that nonconformity can be a useful tool to stimulate innovation. Merging these findings, we theorise that foreign experiences increase nonconformist attitudes and behaviours. In Studies 1 and 2, surveys of Chinese university students and non-student adults consistently showed that multicultural experiences were negatively related to conformity tendencies. Study 3 found that American students who were studying in China demonstrated a lower conformity tendency than American students without multicultural experiences, which suggests that the multicultural experience – conformity link cannot be accounted for by the effects of culture. Results from Study 4 indicated that compared with participants who had planned to go abroad but had not left their home country yet, participants who had lived abroad reported lower levels of conformity. Lastly, experimentally manipulating a focus on foreign experiences (vs. home experiences) facilitates non-conforming ways of thinking in terms of product preference (Study 5). Together, these findings provide evidence that exposure to diverse cultures not only produces divergent psychological consequences as have been found by other researchers, but also leads to the emergence of nonconformity attitudes and behaviours.
By going abroad, individuals get the opportunity to explore a new country and to immerse themselves in a new culture. Despite being personally and professionally rewarding, little is known about interpersonal attitudes and behavior change that accompany living abroad experiences. The current research examines whether foreign experiences influence forgiveness. Drawing on the Structure–Appraisal Model of Multicultural Experiences and literature examining the positive effect of foreign experiences on self-control related to the suppression of impulsive retaliation, we propose that international experiences lead to a greater tendency to forgive. As predicted, we found that foreign experiences correlated positively with forgiving motivations toward transgressors across different measures of forgiveness and diverse samples (Studies 1–2). Study three compared forgiveness of individuals who had lived abroad with forgiveness of individuals who had plans to live abroad but had not done so yet. We found consistent support for the hypothesis that living abroad has an impact on forgiveness. By employing an experimental design, Study four established the causal effect of international experiences on forgiveness. Taken together, these findings suggest that when individuals experience foreign cultures, they learn to understand interpersonal conflicts from different perspectives and show greater leniency and forgiveness toward transgressions.
Previous research has disproportionately focused on the positive impacts of travelling abroad experiences (TAEs) on various aspects including well-being, learning and creativity. This research challenges the conventional wisdom that TAEs are always beneficial by revealing a potential dark side of TAEs: an increase in tourist misbehaviours. The survey evidence (N = 805) with PLS-SEM analysis indicates that accumulated TAEs motivated tourists to engage in misbehaviours by increasing their moral relativism. This research contributes to the literature on tourist misbehaviours by uncovering one of its key driving forces, namely accumulated TAEs together with the internal psychological mechanism of moral relativism. It also advances the moral psychology literature by revealing accumulated TAEs as a driver of moral relativism. The findings provide managerial implications to prevent tourist misbehaviours.
This book explores the deep roots of modern democracy, focusing on geography and long-term patterns of global diffusion. Its geographic argument centers on access to the sea, afforded by natural harbors which enhance the mobility of people, goods, capital, and ideas. The extraordinary connectivity of harbor regions thereby affected economic development, the structure of the military, statebuilding, and openness to the world – and, through these pathways, the development of representative democracy. The authors' second argument focuses on the global diffusion of representative democracy. Beginning around 1500, Europeans started to populate distant places abroad. Where Europeans were numerous they established some form of representative democracy, often with restrictions limiting suffrage to those of European heritage. Where they were in the minority, Europeans were more reticent about popular rule and often actively resisted democratization. Where Europeans were entirely absent, the concept of representative democracy was unfamiliar and its practice undeveloped.
From ancient time, Homo sapiens moved around in search of a better life. Although the development of agriculture and industrialization no longer necessitates frequently moving to find new food sources, people today still change their residences for a variety of reasons. This article highlights key findings from residential mobility, focusing on its implications for the self, social relationships, societies, and well‐being. Generally, residential mobility shifts individual attention away from collective attributes towards personal attributes. It also changes people’s relationship styles and preferences, leading individuals to favor wider social networks, more open communication, low commitment groups, and egalitarian helpers. In addition, it increases tolerance for norm violations and moral deviations. Lastly, residential mobility can explain some cross‐national and within‐nation variations. This article reviews recent psychological research on residential mobility and then discusses limitations, paradoxical findings, and future directions.
How to target individuals for charitable behavior to distant others is a major challenge. This paper tests the possibility that individuals with higher income engage in more charitable behavior toward distant beneficiaries relative to individuals with lower income. A multi‐method approach offers evidence for this prediction. Survey data (N = 2957) demonstrates that income is positively related to allocations of money to distant beneficiaries (foreign medical staff). Richer (vs. poorer) individuals are also more likely to volunteer to assist distant beneficiaries (Study 2, N = 397; Study 3, N = 250). Moreover, we tested this prediction with data from 66,669 respondents across 49 countries and found that those with higher income have higher global identity, which, in turn, leads to proffering more help towards distant others (Study 4). This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Full-text available
Purpose This study presents a conceptual model of knowledge sharing in global organizations, examining the facilitating role of international experience through cognitive, relational and structural social capital perspectives. Design/methodology/approach This is a conceptual paper that applies multilevel thinking to the issue of knowledge sharing in global environments. Findings The presented conceptual model contributes to our understanding of the microfoundational role of international experience in facilitating knowledge sharing in global organizations by integrating individual, dyadic and group perspectives. Practical implications Managerial implications are discussed for how to strengthen individuals' propensities for knowledge sharing from international experience through strategic hiring, employee development, succession planning and expatriate mobility. Originality/value The presented framework explicitly considers the implications of individual heterogeneity in international experience for differences in organizational knowledge sharing capabilities, thereby contributing to the search for microfoundations of competitive advantage in global organizations.
Full-text available
Previous research on self-other similarity judgments has demon- strated that perceived similarity between self and other depends on the focus of comparison. Based on the Selective Accessibility model, which assumes that comparisons with similar others yield assimilation, whereas comparisons with dissimilar others yield contrast, the author hypothesized that the focus of a social com- parison would influence its consequences. Specifically, compar- ing the standard to the self (focus of comparison other → self) should increase perceived similarity so that self-evaluations are assimilated to the standard. Comparing the self to the standard (focus of comparison self → other), however, should reduce per- ceived similarity so that contrast ensues. This pattern was obtained in two studies. Moreover, Study 2 demonstrates that the occurrence of assimilation versus contrast as a consequence of manipulating the focus of comparison is mediated by the per- ceived similarity to the standard.
Full-text available
Data for this longitudinal study were collected from over 2000 White, Asian, Latino, and African American college students. Results indicated that students who exhibited more ingroup bias and intergroup anxiety at the end of their first year of college had fewer outgroup friends and more ingroup friends during their second and third years of college, controlling for pre-college friendships and other background variables. In addition, beyond these effects of prior ethnic attitudes and orientations on friendship choices, those with more outgroup friendships and fewer ingroup friendships during their second and third years of college showed less ingroup bias and intergroup anxiety at the end of college, controlling for the prior attitudes, pre-college friendships, and background variables. Results are discussed in terms of the contact hypothesis.
Full-text available
HE importance of social trust has become widely accepted in the social sciences. One reason for the interest in social trust is that, as measured in surveys, it correlates with a number of other variables that are normatively highly desirable. At the individual level, people who believe that in general most other people in their society can be trusted are also more inclined to have a positive view of their democratic in- stitutions, to participate more in politics, and to be more active in civic organizations. They also give more to charity and are more tolerant toward minorities and to people who are not like themselves. Trusting people also tend to be more optimistic about their own ability to influ- ence their own life chances and, not least important, to be more happy with how their life is going. 1
The authors argue that exposure to contextual diversity can prompt more complex, differentiated, and inclusive multiple in-group perceptions, that is, social identity complexity, with positive consequences for intergroup relations. Two unique, large-scale national surveys, involving respondents sampled from neighborhoods of varying degrees of diversity in Germany (Study 1; N = 1,381 drawn from 50 different neighborhoods) and England (Study 2; N = 580 drawn from 192 different neighborhoods), tested the prediction that people living in ethnically diverse neighborhoods would be higher in social identity complexity and, in turn, hold less negative intergroup attitudes. Results confirmed this hypothesis, showing that greater diversity was directly associated with higher social identity complexity (Studies 1 and 2) and indirectly associated with less in-group bias (Studies 1 and 2), and less social distance (Study 2), via social identity complexity. Findings are discussed with regard to their implications for the consequences of diversity for intergroup relations.
In a multi-phase research design over two academic semesters, White college students assigned to either a same-race or other-race roommate were tracked across two survey phases and a third phase involving an interracial interaction with a Black stranger. After four months, Whites who lived with an other-race roommate came to have more diverse friends and believe that diversity was more important than did Whites with a White roommate. After six months, self-reports, partner ratings, and nonverbal behavior indicated that Whites with an other-race roommate were less anxious, more pleasant, and more physically engaged during a novel interracial interaction. These results demonstrate that residential contact with other-race individuals not only affects race-related attitudes, but can also reduce interracial anxiety and positively influence behavior in subsequent diverse settings.
Residential mobility is an increasingly important personal and societal issue in both the United States and the world in general. However, it has received relatively limited attention in psychological theorizing and research. This article demonstrates the importance of residential mobility in understanding the self, social relationships, and well-being. Recent research has shown that residential mobility (number of moves for an individual or percentage having moved recently for a neighborhood) is associated with the primacy of the personal over the collective self. It is also associated with "duty-free" friendships and group memberships rather than obligatory friendships and group memberships. Overall, residential mobility is associated with lower levels of well-being at the individual level of analysis. Finally, residential mobility is associated with personal forms of subjective well-being (based on self-esteem, the verification of the personal self) as opposed to interpersonal forms of subjective well-being (based on social support, the verification of the collective selves). In short, residential mobility is a powerful, parsimonious explanatory construct in the self, social relationships, and subjective well-being and may be a key to understanding the future of mind and behavior in the increasingly mobile world. © The Author(s) 2010.
The current paper examines how status, a universal feature of organizational life, affects people’s initial trust in others. In three experiments – which employ a range of status manipulations and trust measures – we consistently observed that the possession of high status led individuals to trust others more. In addition, our results help shed light on why this occurs. Namely, mediation analyses illustrated that having status alters how we perceive others intentions, such that the belief that others have positive intentions toward us (i.e., benevolence) accounted for the relationship between status and trust. These findings contribute both to our knowledge of the contextual features which impact trust and provide insight into the psychological consequences of status.