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New Study Shows that Individuals Expand Their Notion of Community as Diversity Increases

Some in the United States and elsewhere see increased racial, ethnic and cultural diversity as a problem to be solved by policy-makers, but new research suggests that it's more of a problem for those that fear it happening in their community than for those that are experiencing the change. People adapt quickly to a more diverse environment by expanding their view of "community."

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that "people living in more diverse areas were more likely to perceive themselves and others as being part of the same local community—e.g., New Yorkers—regardless of ethnic and cultural differences." However, individuals living in more homogeneous regions maintained negative stereotypes about people who are racially or culturally different.

This makes sense and is welcome news. Once we are exposed to people of other faiths, colors and cultures, the differences start to fade as we expand our notion of "community" to include our shared experiences living within the same city or town. Our similarities become more important than the differences we once feared. "This is a hopeful and optimistic message, showing that people can get used to anything. In other words, the 'melting pot' lives," said Susan Fiske, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs,"...
... "They can adapt to being in quarantine, or living in a neighborhood with different people," Fiske said. "What probably disrupts this process, however, are divisive political leaders who purposefully try to agitate or polarize, and exaggerate the differences between people."

This is a fascinating study and you can read more about how it was conducted here.

#news #research #culture

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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