Move the Body, Change the Self:
on the Self-Concept
Steven J. Heine
Darrin R. Lehman
University of British Columbia
The ever-growing body of research on acculturation is in agreement on at least one issue: Moving to a new culture involves psychological adjustment. This adjustment occurs over a wide variety of domains, including acquiring a new language, learning new interpersonal and social behaviors, becoming accustomed to new values, adapting to a new diet, and becoming a member of a minority group (e.g., Berry & Kim, 1988; Church, 1982; Dornic, 1985; Feldman, Mont-Reynaud, & Rosenthal, 1992; Furnham & Bochner, 1986; LaFromboise, Coleman, & Gerton, 1993; Pasquali, 1985; Schwarzer, Bowler, & Rauch, 1985). More pertinent to self-researchers, however, is research on the adjustment of the self-concept in the acculturation process.
STUDY OF CULTURE AND PSYCHOLOGY
Cultural psychology maintains that culture and self are mutually constituted (e.g., Markus, Mullally, & Kitayama, 1997; Shweder, 1990). That is, individuals seize meanings and resources from their culture in the construction of their selves, and likewise, the collective sharing of meaning and resources among individuals shapes the cultural environment. Despite the straightforwardness of this theoretical view, empirical evidence for the cultural foundation of the self-concept is not immediately obvious, nor is its assessment a simple task. For example, it is extraordinarily difficult for a cul