Multicultural experiences and intercultural communication

Angela K Y Leung, Chi Yue Chiu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


As mentioned in Part II of this volume, culture consists of shared knowledge in the forms of societal norms, lay beliefs, values, practices, and routines. Through participating in culture and engaging in communication with other cultural members, people grasp the shared reality in their culture and use it as behavioral guides both when they communicate with people in their culture and when they interact with people from a different culture. Not surprisingly, the role of communication in cultural processes has been extensively discussed in the research literature. In contrast, how cultural processes affect communication has been relatively unexplored, although there is ample research on cultural differences in communication processes. The goal of this chapter is to fill this gap by focusing on how multicultural experiences may impact intercultural communication. Drawing on the cultural competence model proposed by Chiu and Hong (2006), we contend that effective intercultural communication requires nuanced understanding of cultural differences and discriminative application of cultural knowledge to guide interactions in different cultural contexts. We further contend that multicultural experiences confer opportunities for intercultural learning. Thus, individuals with rich, multicultural experiences are expected to possess nuanced knowledge of cultural differences and be able to use such knowledge discriminatively to guide interactions in changing cultural contexts. In this chapter, we will discuss these contentions and review the pertinent supporting evidence. Finally, we will discuss how cultural identification and need for cognitive closure may moderate the effects of multicultural experiences on intercultural learning and discriminative application of cultural knowledge. To provide the context for these discussions, in the next section, we will briefly review the role of communication and intercultural communication in cultural processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural processes
Subtitle of host publicationA social psychological perspective
EditorsA K-Y Leung, C-Y Chiu, Y-Y Hong
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780511779374
ISBN (Print)9780521765237
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


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