Research shows immigrants quickly adapting to local 'way of thinking'.
A common fear in many Western countries that immigrants have fundamentally different ways of thinking, and that these differences prevent integration, are misplaced, says a recent study into cultural variations in thinking styles.
Researchers led by Professor Alex Mesoudi of the University of Exeter administered psychological tests designed to measure culturally variable psychological processes to 286 Londoners. These included first generation British Bangladeshis born and raised in Bangladesh, second generation British Bangladeshis born and raised in the UK to first generation parents, as well as non-migrants, born and raised in the UK to UK-born parents of European heritage.
"We found that British Bangladeshi migrants in East London shifted towards the thinking styles of the wider non-migrant population in just a single generation," says Professor Mesoudi. "This finding that British Bangladeshi immigrants substantially acculturate to local thinking styles in one generation suggests that fears over a lack of immigrant integration may be unfounded."
"Our results show that thinking styles are not fixed from birth," he says. "This supports the idea that our species evolved to be highly flexible and can rapidly adopt the local norms and values – and in this case, thinking styles – of our social environments: we adapt and vary culturally through peer interactions, schooling, or mass media messages, rather than genetically."