The authors argue in this article that new approaches are needed in the study of psychological acculturation. They posit that a new model of psychological acculturation should incorporate contemporary work in social psychology and cognitive psychology. The model they present builds on previous research in the areas of social cognition, cultural competence, social identity, and social stigma. Each of these perspectives is discussed in accordance with its relevance to the acculturative processes operating in immigrants. They hypothesize that acculturation is more difficult for those persons who must cope with the stigma of being different because of skin color, language, ethnicity, and so forth. Finally, the authors believe that the theoretical framework present here will lead to more productive insights into the adaptation process of immigrants than has heretofore been the case. In this article, we discuss psychological acculturation, by which we mean the internal processes of change that immigrants experience when they come into direct contact with members of the host culture. Our intent is not to attempt to revive older models of acculturation, but to present a schema of a new model of acculturation that incorporates contemporary work in social and cognitive psychology. To discuss this new model of acculturation, it is first necessary to present a brief overview of the current status of acculturation research. Our review of acculturation research is not intended to be exhaustive. Our goal is merely to point out the current deficiencies in acculturation research as we see them. Following this, we will present our model of acculturation that rests on four pillars: social cognition, cultural competence, social identity, and social stigma.
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