Accommodating intercultural encounters elaborations and extensions
Participants in an interethnic encounter behave associatively when they perceive and respond to others as unique individuals rather than as representatives of an outgroup identified by an us-and-them orientation.
Such a cognitive tendency to perceive others as unique individuals is variously labeled in social psychology as "differentiation," "particularization," "decategorization," "personalization," and "mindfulness." The associative orientation is expressed outwardly in what Cynthia Gallois and her colleagues (1995) refer to as "convergent" verbal and nonverbal encoding behaviors.
Associative and dissociative behaviors are not two mutually exclusive categories but vary in the degree of associative social meaning that is being communicated.
Behaviors that are closer to the associative end of this continuum facilitate the communication process by increasing the likelihood of mutual understanding, cooperation, and convergence or the coming-together of the involved persons.
At the other end are those encounters in which the participants are not at all affected by ethnic categories and, instead, communicate with each other based entirely on the personal relationship that exists between them.
Likewise, anthropological approaches to ethnicity emphasize the group-level collective cultural patterns including language, norms, beliefs, myths, values, and worldviews, as well as symbolic emblems, artifacts, and physical characteristics—from foods, flags, folk songs, folk gestures and movements, and folk dances to skin colors and facial features.Psychologists have tried to identify factors within individuals and the immediate social situations that help explain ingroup communication behaviors (i.e., between people of the same background) and outgroup communication behaviors (i.e., between people from different backgrounds).Sociologists have examined interethnic relations mainly from the perspective of society, focusing on macro-structural factors such as social stratification and resource distribution.Such is the case whenever one characterizes any given ethnic group in a categorical manner, failing to recognize substantial differences among its individual members.This stereotypical perception is accompanied by a tendency to accentuate differences and ignore similarities between oneself and the members of the outgroup and to judge the perceived differences unfavorably.
Search for accommodating intercultural encounters elaborations and extensions:
Nonverbally, dissociative communication occurs through covert and subtle facial, vocal, and bodily expressions that convey lack of interest, disrespect, arrogance, and anger.