Host-member misperceptions about what others expect of immigrants: The role of personal attitudes, voting behaviour, and right-wing authoritarianism
Asian Journal of Social Psychology
School of Arts and Humanities
Edith Cowan University
© 2020 Asian Association of Social Psychology and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd Concordant acculturation expectations and preferences between a host society and its immigrants are important for social cohesion. But perceptions of others' attitudes are often distorted, and may extend to intracultural misperceptions about what others in one's own society expect for immigrants. We test whether attitudinal misperceptions operate in the context of host-members' acculturation expectations of immigrants—preferences about whether newcomers should embrace the majority culture, or maintain their own cultural heritage. Further, we test whether the conservative dimension of right-wing authoritarianism (RWA-C) drives both personal acculturation expectations and distortions about what others expect. We surveyed a representative sample of 2,013 Australian citizens about their own acculturation expectations for immigrants and their perceptions of the expectations of the host society in general. People significantly overestimated the extent to which fellow host society members expect immigrants to embrace the host culture, and underestimated expectations that immigrants retain their own culture. Voting behaviour and RWA-C were related to personal acculturation expectations and to perceptions of host society consensus with their own views (self–other discrepancy). Moreover, personal acculturation expectations mediated the link between RWA-C and perceived self–other discrepancy. The psychological bases of these misperceptions, and their potential ramifications for immigrants, are discussed.