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Psychology Colloquium Series | Xian Zhao, Nov. 29

The Psychology Colloquium Series presents Xian Zhao discussing "Small Looms Large: Studies on Name and Micro-affiliation Theory" on Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 10:45-11:40 a.m. in Porter Hall 105.


Abstract: Names are an important aspect of identity, but when they are perceived as difficult to pronounce or “foreign,” they may trigger discriminatory responses. Name Anglicization (or Name-Whitening) is one pro-active response to ward off anticipated discrimination, and to signal assimilation. I will review evidence suggesting that while name Anglicization may reduce discrimination (compared to using an original ethnic name), it also burdens minority group members and is linked to lower well-being. I suggest a solution to this dilemma: Training proper pronunciation of ethnic names. I will present evidence to show how proper pronunciation of ethnic names can enhance interracial interaction. Based on the above empirical evidence and existing literature, I propose a micro-affiliation theory to illustrate how small gestures can illuminate an enormous potential for promoting inclusion. The theory identifies the dimensions, types, and conditions under which micro-affiliation can exert its positive influence both for micro-affiliation actors and recipients. I argue how the theory can be used as the basis for a powerful intervention tool. The implications are important for further work on inclusion to promote organizational and societal diversity.

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