Living abroad can clarify your sense of self, according to new research by a team of social scientists at Rice University, Columbia University and the University of North Carolina.
They found living abroad increases “self-concept clarity,” the extent to which individuals’ beliefs about themselves are clearly and confidently defined and consistent and stable over time.
The researchers are Hajo Adam and Otilia Obodaru of Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business; Jackson Lu and Adam Galinsky of Columbia Business School; and William Maddux of UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. They conducted six studies involving 1,874 participants and published their findings in “The Shortest Path to Oneself Leads Around the World: Living Abroad Increases Self-Concept Clarity” in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
To conduct the studies, the authors recruited participants from online panels and United States and international MBA programs, including some who had not lived abroad, who then completed surveys on living abroad.
The researchers found living abroad triggers self-discerning reflections in which people grapple with the different cultural values and norms of their home and host cultures. These reflections are helpful in discovering which values and norms define who people are and which simply reflect their cultural upbringing, according to the study.
Source: Science Daily
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