Abstract Recent research conceptualizes language mindsets as a ‘lens’ through which learners view language challenges as either deficits of aptitude (i.e. entity beliefs) or opportunities to improve (i.e. incremental beliefs). Extending this meaning-system approach in an intercultural context, we proposed that language mindsets influence migrants’ experience of intercultural interaction and cultural adaptation through language-based rejection sensitivity (RS) (i.e. the tendency to anxiously expect rejection from native speakers due to a lack of language proficiency). Two studies of 292 English-as-a-second-language speakers in Canada demonstrated that those who held or were primed with entity beliefs (vs. incremental beliefs) reported stronger language-based RS, which in turn predicted more intergroup anxiety towards members of the target language community, less perceived connectedness with the host country, and worse cross-cultural adaptation. These effects persisted after controlling for perceived language competence and length of residence, thereby highlighting the unique importance of language mindsets in predicting intercultural communication and cross-cultural adaptation. Migrants’ settlement programmes that promote incremental beliefs may thereby lessen concern about social rejection and reduce their anxiety when using a second language. After all those years dreaming of America, I hated it…. I couldn’t understand anything. I didn’t talk. I was afraid someone would laugh at my pronunciation. And they did make fun of me. I thought to myself, I was a good student in Korea. Here I am stupid… … . Finally I realized I had to reach out. To be a better speaker I had to be active and overcome my fear. —The Colors of Freedom: Immigrant Stories (Bode 1999) Learning and using a second language (L2) is an integral part of everyday life to many migrants.1 When navigating their everyday life in an L2, migrants often encounter communication obstacles, some of which are followed by negative feedback and social rejection from native speakers (Lippi-Green 2012). For example, it is not uncommon for migrants in North America to be ignored and to receive signs of impatience and prejudice due to their non-native or non-standard English (Lee and Rice 2007; Gluszek and Dovidio 2010a). Research shows that these day-to-day negative experiences with communication barriers are disruptive to migrants’ motivation and confidence in their use of the L2. Some migrants develop strong anxiety and less willingness to communicate in the L2 with locals; this avoidant tendency influences their adaptation and sense of belonging to the new culture, as well as their physical and mental health (Yoo et al. 2009; Gluszek and Dovidio 2010a; Gallagher 2013; Wei et al. 2015). To help migrants adjust to a new culture, it is important to understand the psychological processes through which migrants cope with the fear of being rejected due to low levels of communicative competence. Research in social and educational psychology suggests that people’s emotional and behavioural responses to challenging situations are partly rooted in their beliefs about whether their attributes (e.g. personality, cultural characteristics, and language aptitude) are fixed or malleable (Dweck 1999; Dweck and Leggett 1988). These beliefs are argued to be the core of the meaning system, or ‘mindset’, through which people construe or make sense of their learning and social experiences (Carr et al. 2012). Specifically, those who believe their ability is fixed, termed an ‘entity mindset’, tend to attribute failure to their lack of aptitude (i.e. an uncontrollable factor). They have a strong fear of failure and thus avoid interactions where negative feedback is possible. In contrast, those who believe their competence is malleable, termed an ‘incremental mindset’, tend to attribute failure to their effort (i.e. a controllable factor). They regard challenges as opportunities for improvement and thus tend to be less concerned about failure. Extending this meaning system approach to L2 learning and use in an intercultural context, we proposed that migrants’ language mindsets (i.e. beliefs about whether L2 ability is fixed or improvable) can heighten or lessen their sensitivity towards being rejected on the basis of their language ability, which in turn influences their interpersonal relations with members of the target language group as well as their adaptation to the target culture (see Figure 1). To elaborate on this model, we will first conceptualize the central construct of this model—language-based rejection sensitivity (language-RS), by reviewing related concepts, including language anxiety and RS in other social and educational domains. We will then examine the hypothesized outcomes of language-RS on intercultural experience by reviewing research showing how perceived social rejection is linked to negative experiences in various intergroup contexts. Finally, we will discuss why language mindset is a key antecedent of language-RS by examining evidence that entity (vs. incremental) beliefs heighten learners’ negative responses in different anxiety-provoking contexts. Figure 1: View largeDownload slide A theoretical model in which language mindsets influence intercultural experience through language-based rejection sensitivity Figure 1: View largeDownload slide A theoretical model in which language mindsets influence intercultural experience through language-based rejection sensitivity 1. LANGUAGE-BASED REJECTION AND INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCES Similar to other social categories in which stereotypes and prejudice are rooted, language can be a social marker that influences social perceptions and impression formation (e.g., race, gender, age, and social class; Kinzler et al. 2010; Rakić et al. 2011). With considerable consistency, research shows that migrants who speak nonstandard local language(s) often experience prejudice and discrimination in the workplace, at school, and in the local community (see Lippi-Green 2012). For instance, even when no other demographic information is available, speakers of nonstandard English in the USA are perceived as less competent and credible, lower in social status, and less ‘American’ compared to standard English speakers (Gluszek and Dovidio 2010b; Rakić et al. 2011; Lippi-Green 2012). Moreover, migrants who experience more language-based discrimination report more depression symptoms and worse physical health, and these effects are independent of and extend beyond migrants’ experience of racial discrimination (Yoo et al. 2009). Despite research showing that language-related discrimination is prevalent, disruptive, and distinct from other forms of discrimination, little is known about how members of linguistic minority groups perceive and expect language-based rejection, and how their expectations influence their sociocultural adjustment and intergroup relations. 1.1 Language-based rejection sensitivity To address this gap, we draw from the status-based RS (RS-status) framework, which accounts for individual differences in response to possible discriminatory cues (Mendoza-Denton et al. 2002). This framework is grounded in an attachment approach to interpersonal relationships (Bowlby 1969), which suggests that repeated rejection experiences with significant others (e.g. caregivers) in childhood result in the development of an insecure attachment style, characterized by a tendency to excessively worry about others’ rejection. Extending Bowlby’s attachment theory of child development, Downey and Feldman (1996) argue that rejection experiences also shape adults’ cognitive–affective processing in interpersonal situations, such that some people develop a tendency to be anxious about anticipatory rejection by others (i.e. RS). Based on this model, Mendoza-Denton et al. (2002) proposed that direct or vicarious experiences of rejection due to one’s personal and social characteristics (e.g. race, gender, age, social status, and sexual orientations) can also lead to the development of anxious expectations of rejection based on one’s minority status (i.e. RS-status). Excessively anxious expectations of rejection can direct people to readily interpret others’ behaviours as intentional rejection, even when signs of rejection are highly ambiguous. Therefore, minority members who are sensitive to rejection may react negatively in intergroup situations where rejection is possible (Mendoza-Denton et al. 2002). Research shows that RS-status predicts minority group members’ psychological health and social experiences with the dominant group (Mendoza-Denton et al. 2002). Members from stigmatized, lower status groups who often experienced RS were more likely to avoid interacting with majority group members, showed stronger intergroup anxiety, and reported a lessened sense of belonging in the majority-dominant settings (Chan and Mendoza-Denton 2008). In response to minority members’ avoidant behaviours, majority group members may respond negatively and further avoid interaction. That is to say, a strong RS may be part of a vicious cycle of adverse intergroup experiences. The RS-status framework provides insight into the social-cognitive process of intergroup relations by capturing how individuals’ awareness and perceptions of being rejected can lead to behaviours that confirm their expectations and thus undermine intergroup relations. The present research extends this framework into the L2 context to understand non-native speakers’ cognitive, affective, and behavioural attitudes with the majority ethnolinguistic group. In line with the RS model, we define language-based RS (language-RS) as a tendency to anxiously anticipate rejection by the dominant ethnolinguistic group because of one’s lack of proficiency. As noted earlier, it is not uncommon for migrants to experience poor treatment due to low language ability (Lippi-Green 2012). As a result, some migrants become more and perhaps overly concerned about how they might be treated as a member of a non-dominant ethnolinguistic group, and expect that future attempts at affiliation are unlikely to be successful. But unlike RS based on some other characteristics, such as racial appearance, language-RS is based on a characteristic that is presumably changeable, at least to some extent. Given that many migrants are motivated to improve their language skills to affiliate with and avoid exclusion from the dominant group, an improvement of language ability may directly reduce migrants’ language-RS. Two constructs that are related to language-RS are language anxiety, defined as an anxious reaction associated with learning or using an L2 (e.g. tension, apprehension, frustration; MacIntyre and Gardner 1989; Horwitz 2001), and language self-confidence, defined as positive evaluation of one’s own L2 competence along with low levels of language anxiety (Sampasivam and Clément 2014). Although these two constructs share some features with language-RS, in that they both reference the negative emotional experience as a result of poor L2 competency and negative intergroup contact/L2 use experience, they are conceptually distinct from language-RS. Language anxiety and confidence are usually assessed as more general reactions to L2 learning and use, whereas language-RS is refers specifically to a cognitive–affective process involved in one’s expectations of how they might be treated in interactions with members of the target language community. 1.2 Consequences of language-RS One goal of this research is to understand the consequences of language-RS in an intercultural context. First, to highlight the central role of language-RS in intercultural relations, we will examine the link between language-RS and intergroup anxiety. Intergroup anxiety captures the emotional experiences and reactions associated with interacting with outgroup members (Stephan and Stephan 1985). The cause of intergroup anxiety is suggested to be rooted in the expectation of negative consequences, including perceived evaluations by others (see also Plant and Devine 2003). In line with this claim, research shows that racial minorities who anxiously expect others to reject them because of their race also experience more anxiety when interacting with White Americans (Chan and Mendoza-Denton 2008). Based on these findings, we predicted that migrants who have a strong tendency for language-RS will experience higher intergroup anxiety with the majority ethnolinguistic group. In addition to experiencing distress when interacting with locals, migrants who are high in language-RS may also suffer long-term social and psychological consequences derived from their disappointing intergroup experiences. Previous studies on RS-race found that racial minority immigrants who anxiously expected that White Americans would reject them felt less connected with the host country (Chan and Mendoza-Denton 2008). A longitudinal study also showed that international students who were overly concerned that the locals might reject them because of their ‘foreigner’ status felt less adjusted to their new country (Chao et al. 2017). Similarly, we predicted that language-RS would negatively influence migrants’ sense of belonging and cross-cultural adjustment. Regarding cross-cultural adaptation, Black and Stephens (1989) suggested that there are at least three aspects required to understand how well adapted people are to their new cultural context, including interpersonal adjustment (e.g. making friends and interactions with people), general adjustment (e.g. familiarity and ease with social customs and values), and work/academic adjustment (e.g. satisfactory work or academic performance). Previous studies found that concerns about not being accepted by the majority influence not only minorities’ interpersonal relationships but also their academic motivation and achievement, sense of social fit, and general well-being (Mendoza-Denton et al. 2002). Thus, we predicted that language-RS would influence migrants’ overall adjustment. 2. LANGUAGE MINDSETS AND LANGUAGE-RS We argued that not all migrants develop rejection expectations and anxiety about using an L2 with native speakers during their acculturation process. Although several contextual and personal factors can heighten or lessen one’s sensitivity towards rejection by others, we believe one important personal characteristic is mindsets. To understand the role of language mindsets in language-RS and intercultural communication, we first illustrate the construct of mindsets in relations to similar concepts. Mindsets are arguably related to another socio-cognitive construct, self-efficacy, or beliefs about one’s capabilities to achieve in a situation or attain a goal (Bandura 1977). Self-efficacy emphasizes attribution and control beliefs in motivational processes. For instance, learners with low self-efficacy believe that they are not capable of mastering the learning task and possess little control over the learning situation; thus, they exert little effort and give up easily. However, self-efficacy and mindsets are conceptually and empirically different: self-efficacy refers to beliefs regarding whether one possesses the capacity to achieve a goal in a specific situation, whereas mindsets are beliefs about whether one’s ability is a changeable characteristic (Dweck et al. 1995; Lou et al. 2017). Consequently, they have independent influences on learning motivation and outcomes (Diseth et al. 2014). In the L2 context, Lou and Noels (2017a) found that one’s language mindsets are only weakly related to their perceived language competence, and that they both make unique contributions to predicting learning goals and effort beliefs. Mindsets are domain-specific, meaning that individuals can hold incremental beliefs about one domain and entity beliefs about another (e.g. math vs. physical fitness; Dweck et al. 1995). Moreover, individual’s expectations and responses to adverse situations in one domain are systematically linked to their mindsets in that particular domain (Dweck et al. 1995). Nonetheless, the effect of mindsets on motivated action is found to be generalizable across domains, including L2 learning (Mercer and Ryan 2010; Lou and Noels 2017a). In particular, learners with entity language beliefs are more likely to set performance goals (e.g. to look competent or avoid situations that make one look incompetent), to attribute failures to a lack of language aptitude, and thus feel more anxious and helpless when they recall or expect ‘failures’, such as negative feedback and rejections from interlocutors (Lou and Noels 2016). In contrast, learners with incremental beliefs are more likely to set mastery goals (i.e. to focus on the learning process), attribute failures to lack of effort, and expect to overcome setbacks with hard work. Mindsets not only influence people’s learning experience but also their social experience (Carr et al. 2012). That is, people construe social situations, including those involving interpersonal rejection, based on the mindsets relevant to the context. From this perspective, migrants’ concerns about language-based rejection rest on their beliefs about language ability: entity theorists2 construe language-based rejection as inevitable because they believe they have little control over changing their poor ability. Thus, they worry that others may judge their ability and question whether they can connect with the majority ethnolinguistic group. Conversely, incremental theorists see rejection as a temporary part of the language learning process because they believe that they can overcome these challenges by investing more effort and increasing interaction with members of the target community. Indeed, correlational studies in other social domains have supported the link between mindsets and RS; people who endorsed fixed beliefs were more sensitive to rejection in intracultural (i.e. interpersonal; Lou and Li 2017) and intercultural interactions (Chao et al. 2017), and report a lessened sense of belonging (Good et al. 2012). Although mindsets are usually treated as relatively stable individual differences, they can be changed by situational cues, likely because most people hold a mixture of entity and incremental beliefs (Dweck and Leggett 1988). Some researchers have experimentally manipulated mindsets by having participants read a mock article in support of either incremental theories or entity theories (Dweck et al. 1995). This experimental technique is useful for activating language mindsets while simultaneously influencing learners’ perceptions, goals, attributions, and responses to setbacks in ways that are comparable to self-reported methods (Lou and Noels 2016). By using both a questionnaire survey and a laboratory experiment, we will examine the correlational and causal links between mindsets and RS in the language domain. 3. OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH Beliefs and expectancies can crucially affect social experiences, including intercultural interactions (Dweck and Leggett 1988; Bandura 1977). Rooted in this social-cognitive perspective, the present research examines (i) whether and how migrants’ anxious expectations of language-RS are linked to their intercultural experience with the target language community, (ii) whether and how their language mindsets intensify or reduce language RS, and (iii) whether language mindsets indirectly influence intergroup anxiety and adjustment experience through language-RS (see Figure 1). To examine this model, we conducted two studies, examining international and immigrant students who were non-native English speakers studying in a predominantly Anglophone region of Canada. We focus on immigrants and international students who arrived in Canada during adolescence or adulthood because these migrants are more likely to experience problematic intercultural interactions due to communication difficulties than those who migrated prior to their early teens (Sam and Berry 2016). In Study 1, we used a cross-sectional design to examine correlations among language mindsets, language-RS, intergroup anxiety, connectedness with Canadians, and cross-cultural adaptation. Based on previous research on mindsets and the RS model in the domains of race and cultural groups (Chan and Mendoza-Denton 2008; Chao et al. 2017; Lou and Li 2017), we predicted that language mindsets would be associated with language-RS, which in turn would exacerbate intergroup anxiety, inhibit a sense of belonging, and hinder adjustment in the new culture. In Study 2, we adopted an experimental design to examine whether priming entity beliefs (vs. incremental beliefs) would heighten language-RS, and whether this shift in language-RS would then influence expectancies of intergroup anxiety and cross-cultural adjustment. Recognizing that there are multiple individual factors that influences on migrants’ language use, intercultural contact experiences, and cultural adjustment, we included perceived language competence and length of residence as covariates. First, language-RS is conceptualized as an anxious expectation based on one’s evaluation of their L2 ability, and therefore we hypothesize that language-RS is correlated with perceived language competence. Perceived language competence is also an important part of language confidence, which is shown to correlate with language use and intercultural contact (Noels et al. 1996; Gallagher 2013; Sampasivam and Clément 2014). People with lower language confidence are hypothesized to feel rejected, due to a higher likelihood of experiencing negative social interactions using an L2. Secondly, the length of residence in Canada is assumed to reflect migrants’ breadth and depth of cultural knowledge and the extent and quality of contact migrants have with members of the receiving society (Ward and Rana-Deuba 1999). Many studies have documented that language competence and length of contact are interrelated and both positively predict cultural adjustment and negatively predict communication anxiety (Ward and Rana-Deuba 1999; Yang et al. 2006). Therefore, it was important to ensure that any observed relations between language-RS and the outcome variables were not simply due to these confounding variables. 4. STUDY 1 4.1 Procedure and participants This study was conducted at a large western Canadian university with students from diverse ethnolinguistic groups. In the beginning of the semester, students in first-year undergraduate psychology courses completed a questionnaire regarding their demographic information, including ethnic background, language background, country of birth, and length of time in Canada (indicated by years and months). We recruited non-European Canadian/non-Caucasian students who were born in a non-English-speaking country, did not identify English as their native/first language or heritage language, and had lived in Canada for 8 years or less. Eligible participants were invited to complete an online questionnaire for a partial course credit. The 176 participants (60.8 per cent female) ranged in age from 17 to 26 years (M = 20.01, SD = 1.69). They included people from primarily East Asia (e.g. China, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea; N = 143) and Southeast Asia (e.g. Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam; N = 17), although a small number were from South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa (N = 15). They spoke diverse native languages, including Chinese (69.0 per cent), Korean (9.1 per cent), Tagalog (2.8 per cent), Vietnamese (2.3 per cent), Arabic (2.3 per cent), Japanese (2.3 per cent), Punjabi (1.7 per cent), and other languages (10.5 per cent; Afrikaans, Bengali, Bisaya, Cebuano, Hindi, Indonesian, Ilonggo, Kankanaey, Kirundi, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, and Tibetan). Among these participants, 127 (72.2 per cent) were international students, 34 (19.3 per cent) were permanent residents, and 15 (8.5 per cent) were Canadian citizens. Their average length of residence in Canada was 35.10 months (SD = 25.82), ranging from 2 months to 96 months. 4.2 Materials3 4.2.1 The Language Mindsets Inventory The Language Mindsets Inventory (LMI) was used to assess participants’ language mindsets (Lou and Noels 2017a). Along with the instructions, we provided participants with a definition of language intelligence as ‘the capacity to use spoken and written language, including your native language and perhaps other languages, to express what's on your mind and to understand other people. People with high language intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, and telling stories’. The LMI consists of nine items reflecting entity views of language ability (e.g. ‘It is difficult to change how good you are at foreign languages’.) and nine items reflecting incremental views (e.g. ‘No matter who you are, you can significantly change your language intelligence level’.). Participants indicated the extent to which they agreed with each item on a six-point Likert scale (from 1 = strongly disagree to 6 = strongly agree). The mean score was calculated by combining the entity items with the reversed incremental items (α = .84). As such, higher scores indicate stronger agreement with entity beliefs and weaker agreement with incremental beliefs. 4.2.2 Language-based RS To assess participants’ sensitivity to rejection by native English speakers, we used the 10 scenarios descripted in the Intercultural Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire (Chao et al. 2017) and adapted the items of each scenario into a language-use related response. The scenarios were created based on focus-group findings that elicited situations in which international students and immigrants commonly experience anxiety interacting with locals (Chao et al. 2017). Specifically, these scenarios included interactions with native English speakers who are friends (e.g. in daily conversation), classmates (e.g. for a group project), authorities on campus (e.g. professors and staffs at the student administrative office), and strangers in the local community or public facilities (e.g. customer service). In each scenario, respondents rated their (i) anxiety or concern about the possible rejection (1 = very unconcerned to 6 = very concerned) and (ii) perceived likelihood of being rejected due to the fact that they were not native English speakers (1 = very unlikely to 6 = very likely). It is important to note that this measure should include situations that are representative to the study population; the scenarios should be adapted carefully when study non-university-student populations. The RS score for each scenario was computed by multiplying the score for anxiety/concern with the score for perceived likelihood (Mendoza-Denton et al. 2002). A higher quotient in each scenario represents a stronger language-RS tendency (i.e. a high expectation of rejection paired with a strong concern), and a lower quotient represents a weaker language-RS tendency (i.e. a lower expectation and a lower concern). Thus, if a person expects rejection because she/he cannot speak the language fluently and feels anxious about being rejected, she/he is identified as experiencing low RS. The mean language-RS score was calculated by averaging the quotient scores for all scenarios, with higher scores indicating more sensitivity to rejection by native English speakers (α = .88). 4.2.3 Self-evaluation of English competence Participants rated their English proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension on a seven-point scale (1= not fluent at all to 7 = completely fluent). We averaged these four items as the mean score of perceived language proficiency (α = .93). 4.2.4 Intergroup anxiety We used the Intergroup Anxiety Instrument developed by Stephan and Stephan (1985) to measure participants’ anxiety while interacting with Anglo-Canadians. Participants were asked to imagine that they were interacting (e.g. talking, working on a project) with English-speaking Canadians and to indicated their feelings (10 items: awkward, self-conscious, happy, accepted, confident, irritated, impatient, defensive, suspicious, and careful) on a six-point scale (1 = not at all to 6 = extremely). The positive items were reverse coded, such that a higher mean score indicates stronger intergroup anxiety (α = .85). 4.2.5 Perceived connectedness We adapted the Cameron’s In-group Ties Scale (Cameron 2004) to assess participants’ perceived connectedness with Canadians. Participants responded to four items (‘I have a lot in common with Canadians’; ‘I feel strong ties to Canadians’; ‘I find it difficult to form a bond with Canadians’; ‘I don’t feel a sense of being “connected” with Canadians’.) on a five-point scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree). The negatively worded items were reverse coded, such that a high mean score reflects a stronger sense of connectedness (α = .84). 4.2.6 Sociocultural adjustment In line with Chao et al.’s (2017) study, we combined Gong and Fan’s (2006) measures of academic adjustment (i.e. schoolwork, academic requirements, professors’ teaching styles, instructional methods) and interpersonal adjustment (i.e. interacting with people in academic and non-academic activities, interpersonal relationships, associating with Canadians, talking to Canadians, and social gatherings) with Black and Stephens’s (Black and Stephens 1989) measure of general cultural adjustment (i.e. values and beliefs, customs and practices, and living conditions in general) to assess participants' overall experience of cross-cultural adaptation. Participants reported how adjusted they were on a seven-point scale (1 = not well adjusted at all to 7 = very well adjusted). These three dimensions of adjustment were moderately correlated (rs > .49, ps < .001). To examine the overall adjustment, a mean index of cultural adjustment was also calculated (α = .92). 4.3 Results 4.3.1 Preliminary analyses The descriptive statistics and correlations between key variables are reported in Table 1. There was no significant difference between genders for any key variables; therefore, gender was not included in the main analyses. As expected, the length of residence and self-evaluation of language competence were positively correlated. Both variables were negatively associated with language-RS and intergroup anxiety, and were positively associated with perceived connectedness and cultural adjustment. Neither length of residence nor self-evaluation of language competence was correlated with language mindsets. Table 1: Study 1: Descriptive statistics and correlations among variables Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1. Length of residence (months) – .40** .09 −.19* −.17* .21** .30** 2. Self-evaluation of English competence – −.07 −.31** −.31** .27** .40** 3. Language mindsetsa – .29** .05 −.17* −.12 4. Language-based RS – .47** −.30** −.28** 5. Intergroup anxiety – −.47** −.44** 6. Perceived connectedness – .47** 7. Cross-cultural adjustment – Mean 35.10 4.97 3.16 8.91 2.75 3.99 4.94 SD 25.82 1.10 0.61 5.24 0.79 1.13 1.00 Theoretical range 1−96 1−7 1−6 1−36 1−7 1−7 1−7 Cronbach's alpha – .93 .84 .88 .85 .84 .92 Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1. Length of residence (months) – .40** .09 −.19* −.17* .21** .30** 2. Self-evaluation of English competence – −.07 −.31** −.31** .27** .40** 3. Language mindsetsa – .29** .05 −.17* −.12 4. Language-based RS – .47** −.30** −.28** 5. Intergroup anxiety – −.47** −.44** 6. Perceived connectedness – .47** 7. Cross-cultural adjustment – Mean 35.10 4.97 3.16 8.91 2.75 3.99 4.94 SD 25.82 1.10 0.61 5.24 0.79 1.13 1.00 Theoretical range 1−96 1−7 1−6 1−36 1−7 1−7 1−7 Cronbach's alpha – .93 .84 .88 .85 .84 .92 Notes:**p < .01; *p < .05. a A higher score indicates stronger entity beliefs and weaker incremental beliefs. View Large Table 1: Study 1: Descriptive statistics and correlations among variables Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1. Length of residence (months) – .40** .09 −.19* −.17* .21** .30** 2. Self-evaluation of English competence – −.07 −.31** −.31** .27** .40** 3. Language mindsetsa – .29** .05 −.17* −.12 4. Language-based RS – .47** −.30** −.28** 5. Intergroup anxiety – −.47** −.44** 6. Perceived connectedness – .47** 7. Cross-cultural adjustment – Mean 35.10 4.97 3.16 8.91 2.75 3.99 4.94 SD 25.82 1.10 0.61 5.24 0.79 1.13 1.00 Theoretical range 1−96 1−7 1−6 1−36 1−7 1−7 1−7 Cronbach's alpha – .93 .84 .88 .85 .84 .92 Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1. Length of residence (months) – .40** .09 −.19* −.17* .21** .30** 2. Self-evaluation of English competence – −.07 −.31** −.31** .27** .40** 3. Language mindsetsa – .29** .05 −.17* −.12 4. Language-based RS – .47** −.30** −.28** 5. Intergroup anxiety – −.47** −.44** 6. Perceived connectedness – .47** 7. Cross-cultural adjustment – Mean 35.10 4.97 3.16 8.91 2.75 3.99 4.94 SD 25.82 1.10 0.61 5.24 0.79 1.13 1.00 Theoretical range 1−96 1−7 1−6 1−36 1−7 1−7 1−7 Cronbach's alpha – .93 .84 .88 .85 .84 .92 Notes:**p < .01; *p < .05. a A higher score indicates stronger entity beliefs and weaker incremental beliefs. View Large 4.3.2 Path analyses We used Mplus 7.0 to examine our hypothesized path model and its indirect effects (see Figure 2; see Appendix B for the rationales for using path analysis and criteria for model fit). The model fits the data well (χ2 = 4.32, df = 3, p = .23, CFI = .99, RMSEA = .05, SRMR = .02).4 As expected, language mindsets positively predicted language-RS, suggesting that migrants who held stronger entity beliefs (vs. incremental beliefs) were more sensitive to rejection based on their language ability. We also found that language-RS positively predicted intergroup anxiety, and negatively predicted perceived connectedness and cultural adjustment; migrants who were more sensitive to rejection by native English speakers were also more anxious in intergroup interactions, felt less connected to Canadians, and felt that they were less culturally adjusted. Figure 2: View largeDownload slide Study 1: A path analysis results. The solid lines represent the statistically significant paths. The dash lines represent non-significant hypothesized paths (p < .05). The path coefficients are presented in Appendix A Figure 2: View largeDownload slide Study 1: A path analysis results. The solid lines represent the statistically significant paths. The dash lines represent non-significant hypothesized paths (p < .05). The path coefficients are presented in Appendix A The path analysis also showed that perceived language competence and language mindsets jointly predict language-RS; that is, each had an independent impact on language-RS.5 People who believed they were less competent in English also had a stronger language-RS, suggesting language-RS is indeed a language-based anxious expectation. In addition, perceived language competence was negatively associated with sense of connectedness and cultural adjustment, whereas length of residence was positively associated with cultural adjustment. 4.3.3 Tests of indirect effects To examine the hypothesized process, whereby language mindsets predict intercultural experience through language-RS, we ran mediation analyses to test whether antecedents (i.e. language mindsets, perceived competence, and length of residence) predict the mediator (i.e. language-RS), which in turn predicts the outcome variables (i.e. intergroup anxiety, cultural adjustment, and sense of belonging). First, we found that the indirect effects of language mindsets on intergroup anxiety (indirect effect = .14, SE = .04, 95 per cent confidence interval (CI) = [.064, .237]), perceived connectedness (indirect effect = −.06, SE = .03, 95 per cent CI = [−.247, −.016]), and cultural adjustment (indirect effect = −.05, SE = .03, 95 per cent CI = [−.184, −.005]) through the mediation of language-RS were significant (with 5,000 bootstrappings). Secondly, we tested whether perceived language competence predicts the outcomes variables through language-RS. We found significant indirect effects of perceived language competence on intergroup anxiety (b = −.07, SE = .03, 95 per cent CI = [−.134, −.024]), perceived connectedness (b = .06, SE = .03, 95 per cent CI = [.011, .131]), and cross-cultural adjustment (b = .04, SE = .03, 95 per cent CI = [.003, .102]) through the mediation of language-RS. Thirdly, because length of residence did not predict language-RS, no indirect effect was found. In summary, these results support the hypothesis that language-RS mediates the relation between language mindsets and perceived language competence, on the one hand, and intergroup anxiety, perceived connectedness, and cross-cultural adjustment, on the other hand. 5. STUDY 2 Although the results of Study 1 were consistent with the hypotheses, this cross-sectional design does not allow us to confirm a causal relation. Therefore, in Study 2, we sought to replicate and extend the main findings of Study 1 through an experimental design in which participants’ language mindsets were manipulated, and the impact of this manipulation on language-RS was assessed. As well, we examined the indirect effects of the mindset manipulation, through language-RS, on intergroup anxiety and cultural adjustment. Because we wished to determine the influence of the manipulation on one’s anxious expectations of rejection and its consequences, the outcome measures were modified to be future-oriented instead of focused on participants’ disposition or past experiences, as in Study 1. 5.1 Procedure and participants In the beginning of the semester, students at the same university as Study 1 filled out a pre-test measures in a mass-testing questionnaire survey of students registered in introductory psychology courses. The survey included demographic information and the 18-item LMI (Lou and Noels 2017a). Using the same recruitment criterion in Study 1, a new sample of 116 participants was recruited for the experiment. This sample aged from 17 to 24 years (M = 19.60, SD = 1.65), and consisted of 78 females (67.2 per cent). Among these participants, 85 (73.3 per cent) were international students, 20 (17.2 per cent) were permanent residents, and 11 (9.5 per cent) of them were Canadian citizens. The average length of residence in Canada was 31.67 months (SD = 25.27, ranging from 1 month to 95 months). Most participants were from East Asia (e.g. China, Japan, and Korea; N = 94) and Southeast Asia (e.g. Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam; N = 14, while other participants were from South Asia, Middle East, Latin America, and Africa (N = 8). Participants were also from diverse ethnolinguistic backgrounds, including Chinese (71.6 per cent), Korean (8.6 per cent), Tagalog (5.2 per cent), Arabic (3.4 per cent), Vietnamese (2.6 per cent), Japanese (2.6 per cent), and other languages (6.0 per cent, including Azerbaijani, Bisaya, Farsi, Indonesian, Malay, Spanish, and Thai). We invited the participants to a group-testing session 2–3months after the pre-test survey. They were informed that they would take part in two different studies in exchange for partial credit for their psychology course. They were told that the first study sought to investigate students’ memory by having them read an article and recall information about the article at the end of the session. The ostensive purpose of the second study was to investigate their attitudes towards living in Canada. Participants indicated their consent and were then randomly assigned to read an article supporting either incremental or entity theories about language intelligence (described below). As part of the cover story, after reading the article, participants were given a new consent form for the second study and then completed a questionnaire, which included their perceived language competence, language-RS, anticipated intergroup anxiety, and cultural adjustment expectancy (described below in the order of presentation to the participants). At the end of the session, participants filled out a short questionnaire concerning language mindsets and their comprehension of the article (i.e. manipulation check). The experimenters then fully debriefed them about the use of deception and the purpose of the experiment. Participants were also probed about suspicions concerning the connection between ‘the two studies’. None of the participants reported suspicion that the reading task was intended to influence their subsequent reports on the outcome variables. 5.2 Materials 5.2.1 Language mindsets manipulation articles Following a previous experimental study (Lou and Noels 2016), we manipulated participants’ language mindsets by using two mock Psychology TodayTM magazine articles regarding language intelligence. Participants were randomly assigned to read an article supporting either an entity theory (N = 57) or an incremental theory (N = 59) of language intelligence. At the end of the experiment, they were asked to rate how difficult the article was to comprehend (1 = not at all difficult to 7 = extremely difficult). We found that both the entity article (M = 1.77) and the incremental article (M = 1.70) were easy for the participants to read and that there was no difference between the two conditions, F(1, 119) = .19, p = .66. Participants also answered a multiple-choice question regarding the main idea of the article, and they were all able to answer it correctly, suggesting that they understood the incremental or entity thesis of the article. 5.2.2 Self-evaluation of English competence Participants reported their perceived English competence (speaking, writing, reading, and listening comprehension) on a 10-point scale (1 = not fluent at all to 10 = completely fluent; α = .91). 5.2.3 Language-based RS The Language-RS scale described in Study 1 was used to measure participants’ RS. Because Study 2 aimed to investigate the immediate effects of the manipulation, we asked participants to report how they would feel and what they would expect ‘right now’, instead of asking them to report their chronic tendency. The mean language-RS scores were calculated by averaging the responses of the 10 scenarios, with higher scores indicating more sensitivity to rejection by native English speakers (α = .85). 5.2.4 Expected intergroup anxiety We used Plant and Devine’s (Plant and Devine 2003) Intergroup Anxiety Scale to measure participants’ expected anxiety in situations involving interaction with Anglo-Canadians. This widely used measure is based on Stephan and Stephan’s (Stephan and Stephan 1985) measure, and research by Plant and Devine shows it is associated with avoidance and perceived hostility in intergroup interaction settings. In this study, the instructions and items were modified to assess participants’ expectations of future interactions (five items; e.g. I will get anxious when I interact with English-speaking Canadians). The positively worded item (I will feel relaxed when I interact with English-speaking Canadians) was reversed and averaged with the other items, such that a high mean score represents a stronger intergroup anxiety (α = .87). 5.2.5 Cultural adjustment expectancy The sociocultural adjustment scale (Black and Stephens 1989; Gong and Fan 2006) described in Study 1 was used to measure participants’ expectations of cross-cultural adjustment. Participants were asked to envision what their cultural adjustment would be like in the next month and to rate their expectations on a seven-point scale (1 = not at all adjusted to 7 = very well adjusted). In line with Study 1, we calculated the mean for overall cultural adjustment (α = .92). 5.2.6 Language Mindsets Inventory The LMI (Lou and Noels 2017a) described in Study 1 was used to measure language mindsets in the mass testing survey (pre-test; α = .85) and at the end of the experiment (post-test; α = .89). 5.3 Results 5.3.1 Manipulation check and perceived competence We conducted a 2 (within subject: pre-test and post-test language mindsets) by 2 (between subject: entity condition vs. incremental condition) analysis of variance (ANOVA) to examine the effectiveness of the manipulation. We found that the within-subject main effect was not significant (F(1, 114) = 3.23, p = .08, η2 = .03), but the between-subject main effect (F(1, 114) = 10.12, p = .002, η2 = .08) and the interaction effect (F(1, 114) = 27.92, p < .001, η2 = .20) were significant. To unpack these effects, we first conducted two between-subject ANOVAs. The analyses showed that the two conditions did not differ on the pre-test language mindsets, F(1, 114) = .12, p = .73, η2 = .001, but participants in the entity condition reported stronger entity beliefs (vs. incremental beliefs) than participants in the incremental condition on the post-test language mindsets, F(1, 114) = 26.62, p < .001, η2 = .19. As well, two within-subject ANOVAs examined the change within each condition. In the incremental condition, participants reported lower scores (i.e. more incremental-oriented) for the post-test language mindsets (M = 2.85, SD = 0.64) than for the pre-test (M = 3.22, SD = 0.65), F(1, 58) = 36.80, p < .001, η2 = .39. In the entity condition, participants’ reported higher post-test language mindsets (M = 3.43, SD = 0.59) than the pre-test (M = 3.27, SD = 0.51), F(1, 56) = 4.54, p = .04, η2 = .08. Thus the manipulations were effective in changing the participants’ language mindsets. We also examined whether the manipulation influenced participants’ rating of perceived English competence. The results of a one-way ANOVA showed that there was no significant difference between the entity condition (M = 6.56, SD = 1.40) and the incremental condition (M = 6.92, SD = 1.37) on perceived language competence, F(1, 114) = 1.87, p = .18, η2 = .02. Consistent with previous findings (Lou and Noels 2016), reading the incremental article or entity article did not alter people’s self-evaluation of their current language ability. 5.3.2 Preliminary analyses The descriptive statistics and correlations among variables are presented in Table 2. We found that the two conditions did not differ in terms of participants’ length of residence in Canada. Consistent with the findings in Study 1, perceived language competence was positively associated with length of residence and cultural adjustment expectancy, and negatively associated with language-RS and anticipated intergroup anxiety. Similarly, longer residence in Canada was associated with less language-RS and less intergroup anxiety. Table 2: Study 2: Descriptive statistics and correlations among variables Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 1. Length of residence (months) – .38** .01 −.27** −.21* .15 2. Self-evaluation of English competence – −.13 −.26** −.28** .42** 3. Language mindset manipulationa – .20* .06 −.01 4. Language-based RS – .42** −.27** 5. Expected intergroup anxiety – −.32** 6. Cultural adjustment expectancy – Mean 31.67 6.74 −.02 8.94 3.31 4.68 SD 25.27 1.39 1 4.98 1.03 0.77 Theoretical range 1−96 1−10 −1 or 1 1−36 1−7 1−7 Cronbach's alpha – .91 – .85 .87 .92 Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 1. Length of residence (months) – .38** .01 −.27** −.21* .15 2. Self-evaluation of English competence – −.13 −.26** −.28** .42** 3. Language mindset manipulationa – .20* .06 −.01 4. Language-based RS – .42** −.27** 5. Expected intergroup anxiety – −.32** 6. Cultural adjustment expectancy – Mean 31.67 6.74 −.02 8.94 3.31 4.68 SD 25.27 1.39 1 4.98 1.03 0.77 Theoretical range 1−96 1−10 −1 or 1 1−36 1−7 1−7 Cronbach's alpha – .91 – .85 .87 .92 Note:**p < .01; *p < .05. a Language mindsets manipulation was coded as: −1 = incremental and 1 = entity. View Large Table 2: Study 2: Descriptive statistics and correlations among variables Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 1. Length of residence (months) – .38** .01 −.27** −.21* .15 2. Self-evaluation of English competence – −.13 −.26** −.28** .42** 3. Language mindset manipulationa – .20* .06 −.01 4. Language-based RS – .42** −.27** 5. Expected intergroup anxiety – −.32** 6. Cultural adjustment expectancy – Mean 31.67 6.74 −.02 8.94 3.31 4.68 SD 25.27 1.39 1 4.98 1.03 0.77 Theoretical range 1−96 1−10 −1 or 1 1−36 1−7 1−7 Cronbach's alpha – .91 – .85 .87 .92 Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 1. Length of residence (months) – .38** .01 −.27** −.21* .15 2. Self-evaluation of English competence – −.13 −.26** −.28** .42** 3. Language mindset manipulationa – .20* .06 −.01 4. Language-based RS – .42** −.27** 5. Expected intergroup anxiety – −.32** 6. Cultural adjustment expectancy – Mean 31.67 6.74 −.02 8.94 3.31 4.68 SD 25.27 1.39 1 4.98 1.03 0.77 Theoretical range 1−96 1−10 −1 or 1 1−36 1−7 1−7 Cronbach's alpha – .91 – .85 .87 .92 Note:**p < .01; *p < .05. a Language mindsets manipulation was coded as: −1 = incremental and 1 = entity. View Large 5.3.3 Manipulation effects on language-RS and outcomes As expected, we found that the manipulation of language mindsets had a significant impact on language-RS, F(1, 115) = 4.87, p = .03, η2 = .04. Participants who were exposed to entity theories reported a stronger tendency to anxiously expect rejection from native English speakers (Mentity = 9.98, SD = 4.52) than did participants who were exposed to incremental theories (Mincremental = 7.96, SD = 5.23), even accounting for the effects of perceived language competence and length of residence, F(1, 111) = 4.15, p = .04, η2 = .04. However, the manipulation did not directly predict intergroup anxiety, F(1, 115) = .37, p = .55, or cross-cultural adjustment, F(1, 115) = .02, p = .89. 5.3.4 RS on outcomes Consistent with the findings of Study 1, language-RS was associated with intergroup anxiety and anticipated cultural adjustment (see Table 2). After controlling for the effects of perceived competence and length of residence, language-RS still predicted anticipated intergroup anxiety (β = −.20, p = .04) and cultural adjustment expectancy (β = .27, p = .01). 5.3.5 Tests of indirect effects We first found that the data met the assumptions for using regression analysis to test mediation effects (see Appendix C). To test for mediating, indirect effects, we used a bootstrapping procedure that does not require a large sample size (Preacher and Hayes 2008). Specifically, we tested two mediation models for mindset manipulations on anticipated intergroup anxiety (Figure 3A) and cultural adjustment expectancy (Figure 3B), including perceived language competence and length of residence as covariates. The findings showed that the indirect effects of mindset manipulations on anticipated intergroup anxiety (b = −.05, SE = .03, 95 per cent CI = [−.184, −.005]) and cultural adjustment expectancy (b = −.05, SE = .03, 95 per cent CI = [−.088, −.002]), through the mediation of language-RS, were significant, consistent with our hypotheses. Figure 3: View largeDownload slide Study 2: The mediation effects of the language mindsets manipulation on anticipated intergroup anxiety (A) and cultural adjustment expectancy (B) through language-based rejection sensitivity. The standardized regression coefficients are presented, with the coefficients prior to controlling for perceived language competence and length of residence in parentheses Figure 3: View largeDownload slide Study 2: The mediation effects of the language mindsets manipulation on anticipated intergroup anxiety (A) and cultural adjustment expectancy (B) through language-based rejection sensitivity. The standardized regression coefficients are presented, with the coefficients prior to controlling for perceived language competence and length of residence in parentheses 5.3.6 Supplementary analyses We tested whether participants’ self-reported language mindsets (i.e. the measure at the end of the experiment used as a manipulation check) also predict language-RS. To do this, we combined participants’ reports from both conditions and examine the individual variations that are induced by language mindset manipulations. Consistent with Study 1, we found that participants who reported strong entity beliefs (vs. incremental beliefs) also reported more language-RS (β = .24, t = 2.60, p = .01), even after controlling for the length of residence and perceived language competence (β =.20, t = 2.20, p = .03). 6. DISCUSSION The goal of this research was to understand how migrants’ beliefs and expectations about learning and using an L2 influence their intercultural experience. In Study 1, we found that migrants who more strongly endorsed entity beliefs (vs. incremental beliefs) reported a greater anxious expectation that they would be rejected by native speakers, which in turn predicted higher anxiety in intergroup interactions and a lower sense of belonging and cultural adjustment, including in school and interpersonal domains. Study 2 further supported these findings and established a causal link between language mindsets and language-RS. We found that exposing migrants to articles highlighting entity theories (vs. incremental theories) activated stronger language-RS, which in turn predicted higher levels of intergroup anxiety and lower levels of cultural adjustment. Furthermore, these observed effects held after accounting for the effects of perceived language competence and length of residence. We will discuss these findings in terms of their theoretical implications, potential future avenues for research in language contact, and practical implications for intercultural education and interventions. 6.1 Theoretical implications Researchers in applied linguistics and social psychology have long been interested in the complex interaction between L2 learning processes and intercultural communication (Giles and Byrne 1982; Clément 1986). Migrants’ self-evaluations of L2 competence are argued to be an important predictor of adaptive outcomes in intercultural communication (Noels et al. 1996; Kang 2006; Yang et al. 2006). Consistent with this research, the present findings show that migrants’ self-perceptions of low language ability predict worries that the majority ethnolinguistic group will reject them. It further highlights that migrants’ language mindsets have an impact on these worries above and beyond the effect of perceived language competence. Entity theorists were more concerned about being rejected because of their (perceived) low L2 skills and thus were more apprehensive about interacting with native speakers, whereas incremental theorists were motivated to improve and were thus more likely to approach social encounters with locals. Furthermore, this research shows that situationally activated mindsets yielded a similar effect on language-RS as the self-reported chronic mindsets did, suggesting people’s ‘meaning system’ may shift depending on which mindset was more accessible to them in that situation. The access to incremental beliefs may help to reappraise negative group-related emotions and expectations, and thus improve migrants’ intergroup relations with the majority ethnolinguistic group members. This research also expands previous conceptualizations of language anxiety in intercultural interactions. Although research has shown that intercultural contact can result in many fruitful outcomes regarding intergroup relations and adjustment among migrants (Stephan and Stephan 1985; Sam and Berry 2016), interactions with majorities can also be stressful and are often avoided, especially by minority members who anticipate rejection (Plant and Devine 2003). This research shows that the expectations and awareness of rejection by the majority ethnolinguistic group are important precursors of intergroup anxiety, sense of belonging, and cultural adaptation (cf. Stephan and Stephan 1985). The present study is in line with previous research on RS-status based on other characteristics (e.g. race and gender) that shows that RS undermines minority members’ academic motivation as well as their experiences interacting with majority group’s members (Chan and Mendoza-Denton 2008). Therefore, language-RS may hinder not only the development of language competence but also intercultural experiences with members of the target language community (Horwitz 2001; Mendoza-Denton et al. 2002). 6.2 Future directions There are some limitations to these studies that we hope can stimulate future research. First, investigating this paradigm in different migrant populations, such as younger and older migrants, foreign workers, and refugees, is an important avenue for future research. The present research focused on young adult migrants who were university students and had lived in the host country less than 9 years; however, migrants’ language ability, intercultural experience, and adjustment differs depending on their age, length of residence, status in the host country, among other factors (Sam and Berry 2016). Thus, the current findings should be extrapolated to other populations with caution. In particular, the effect of mindsets and RS may differ for people who have little discrimination experience (Mendoza-Denton et al. 2002). People’s language experiences and contact with locals may differ depending on the relative ethnolinguistic vitalities (i.e. language status) of their first and L2 groups (Giles and Byrne 1982; Clément 1986). For example, considering the status of English as a global language, migrants who are standard-English speakers may experience less language-based rejection even when in non-Anglophone countries (Jenkins 2009), and thus language-RS may have a weaker association with their language use and intercultural experiences. In addition to language-use experiences, cultural environments also shape people’s mindsets and RS (Lou and Li 2017). For example, compared to North Americans, Asians have been reported to be more incrementally oriented regarding their intelligence and ability (Heine et al. 2001) but to be more sensitive to social rejection (Lou and Li 2017). It is possible this tendency in East Asian nations is influenced Confucian values that emphasize the importance of effort and improvement and by collectivistic values prioritizing social harmony and relationship safeguarding (Markus and Kitayama 1991; Heine et al. 2001). Moreover, people may carry these culturally learned beliefs and expectations into intercultural communication. Future research should examine language mindsets and language-RS across different societies, and examine whether and how people’s beliefs and communication behaviours in intercultural contact are shaped by different cultural values (e.g. individualism–collectivism), self-construals (e.g. interdependence–independence), and other culturally variant frames of reference. Secondly, although this research provides a unique contribution to understanding RS from a language perspective, other group markers (e.g. race, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientations, and cultural background) could also elicit negative interactions and thus become the bases for RS in intercultural contexts (Mendoza-Denton et al. 2002; Chan and Mendoza-Denton 2008; Chao et al. 2017). How these markers combine to influence RS has not received much attention. There are several possibilities. It is possible that these stigmatized characteristics simultaneously affect RS given that both audio cues (e.g. language use and accent) and visual cues (e.g. skin colour) are primary sources for discrimination in intercultural interactions (Kinzler et al. 2010; Rakić et al. 2011). It is also conceivable that these multiple stigmatized characteristics may function in a more complex manner whereby minority individuals experience different types of RSs depending on the context. For example, language-based RS and race-based RS may have a joint impact on a new Asian immigrant’s interaction and relations with Anglo-European Canadians; however, a new Asian immigrant’s interaction and relations with Anglo-Asian background Canadians will only be affected by language-RS due to having a similar physical appearance. Another possibility is that a general cognitive–affective process underlies these different status-based RSs. As such, a person with a trait of high interpersonal RS is more sensitive across different social contexts. To further understand the construct of language-RS and its impact in intercultural communication, more research is needed to compare and contrast it with other anxiety constructs and rejection sensitivities from both dispositional and situational perspectives. Thirdly, exploring the relation between language-RS, on the one hand, and behavioural responses and other psychological outcomes, on the other, is another avenue for future studies. RS is argued to influence not only minority group members’ cognitive and affective responses toward majority members but also their behavioural reactions (Mendoza-Denton et al. 2002; Chan and Mendoza-Denton 2008). Participants in this study were only asked to imagine interactions with native speakers and to self-report their responses in language-RS and intergroup anxiety. Although research supports that people’s imagination as it pertains to intergroup interactions can evoke cognitive and behavioural effects similar to those they experience in actual interactions (Crisp and Turner 2009), future research should examine whether incremental mindsets or reduced language-RS can elicit positive behaviours in real-life intercultural interaction contexts, such as the workplace and school. Furthermore, for a more comprehensive understanding about the influence of mindsets and language-RS on acculturation, it is important to examine whether language mindsets and language-RS have long-lasting impacts on adjustment and achievement outcomes (e.g. grades and work performance) as well as psychological outcomes (e.g. self-esteem, well-being, and depression). Fourthly, although Study 2 focused on the causal effects of mindsets on language-RS and indirectly on adjustment and intergroup anxiety, we do not dismiss the possibility of reciprocal relations. As such, positive contact and L2 use experience can reduce language-RS and foster incremental mindsets and language competence. Positive intergroup contact and adaptation experiences can guide people to believe in their capacity for language improvement and to reduce communication anxiety, whereas negative experiences may intensify fixed mindsets and the sensitivity of rejection (Mendoza-Denton et al. 2002; Carr et al. 2012). Together, language mindsets and language-RS, on the one hand, and adjustment and intergroup relations, on the other hand, possibly operate as dynamic, interrelated systems. Future longitudinal studies should examine this possible dynamic process of language beliefs, intergroup expectations, language contact, and cross-cultural adaptation more carefully. 6.3 Practical implications This research provides insights relevant to migrants’ acculturation and language training programmes. Many migrants get caught in a vicious cycle of poor language ability, unwillingness to communicate, negative intercultural experiences, and poor cultural adaptation (Sevinç and Backus 2017). To prevent or break this vicious cycle, it is important to develop not only communicative and intercultural competence but also the resilience necessary to overcome anxiety about failures in intercultural communication. We found that promoting incremental beliefs reduces such language anxiety. Helping migrants become aware of their mindsets and articulate incremental beliefs may encourage them to reappraise their previous experiences of L2 use and to view intercultural interactions as opportunities to improve the L2, and thereby increase their willingness to communicate and reduce their intergroup anxiety, and eventually lead to a more positive and effective intergroup and adjustment experience. Previous studies showed that praising learners’ efforts instead of their ability and helping students focus on the learning process rather than social comparisons can facilitate students’ adoption of incremental beliefs (Yeager and Dweck 2012). Furthermore, interventions and educational workshops that promote growth mindsets have been found to have a long-lasting positive impact on students’ motivation, resilience, and achievement in the general academic domain (Yeager and Dweck 2012; see also Noels and Lou 2015 for a discussion). However, to evaluate whether such interventions are effective and generalizable to migrants’ everyday lives, it is important to examine whether people will also apply these acquired beliefs about language learning to their everyday interactions. Given that acculturation is an interactive process between the newcomers and majority members, how majority members interact with newcomers is also important for understanding such process (Sam and Berry 2016). We recognize that in some societal contexts, prejudice, and discrimination against newcomers may be so pervasive that encouraging a reframing of mindsets might be not only difficult but also an inappropriate and ineffectual response to an unjust intergroup situation. However, insofar as the context allows, fostering incremental mindsets can improve not only motivation and engagement in target language but also greater interaction with and better adaptation to the target language community. At the same time, ensuring that majority members provide a welcoming environment in which migrants feel they belong is important for migrants’ language acquisition and adjustment to the target cultural community. Research shows that mindsets also influence majority group members’ stereotypes and prejudice towards minority members (Carr et al. 2012). However, more research is needed to examine whether and how complementary programmes of language mindsets for members of the majority society reduce their language-based prejudice and discrimination towards newcomers (Lou and Noels 2017b). 7. CONCLUSION Language mindsets play an important role in learners’ motivation and resilience in language learning classrooms (Mercer and Ryan 2010; Lou and Noels 2016, 2017). This research shows that language mindsets are also important in understanding the social and interpersonal processes in intercultural interactions outside the classroom. Our findings demonstrated that incremental (vs. entity) beliefs may lead to more adaptive outcomes not only in the classroom but also sociocultural context, and that language-based RS is detrimental to intergroup relations and cultural adjustment among migrants. Based on these findings, we underscore the importance of promoting incremental beliefs and creating a welcoming environment to ensure that migrants do not feel rejected when using their L2. This research sheds light on the field of language learning psychology (Mercer et al. 2012; Noels et al. 2016) by providing theoretical insights regarding the beliefs and expectation relevant to language learning and communication anxiety, as well as their influence on intergroup relations and acculturation. We hope that this research inspires future investigations to continue to bridge the psychology of language learning and intercultural communication. Acknowledgements This project was supported by funds from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SRG 410-2011-1177) awarded to the second author and Edward Chang Memorial Grad Scholarship awarded to the first author. We thank Davies Lam, Nikki Quang, Veronica Del Peral Ramos, and Tommy Ho for their research assistant, as well as the journal editor and three reviewers for their helpful feedback. The authors declare that there are no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Footnotes 1 The literature pertaining to migration uses the term migrants to include immigrants, sojourners, and refugees (Sam and Berry 2016). We adopt this term in this research. 2 Although implicit theories are conceptualized as dimensional constructs, for the sake of simplicity, we use the categories of entity and incremental theorists to describe people who hold a relatively strong entity belief and people who hold a relatively strong incremental belief (Dweck et al. 1995). 3 All materials used in this research are available on the IRIS web-page (www.iris-database.org). 4 The modification indices did not indicate any extra paths should be added in the model. We also tested an alternative model in which language mindsets were reframed as an endogenous variable (outcome) instead of an exogenous variable (antecedent), with no other changes. We found that the model fit indices were the same with the hypothesized model. Given the alternative model and hypothesized model are equivalent regarding the model fit indices, the distinctions are dependent on theoretical considerations (Kline 2015). 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Google Scholar Crossref Search ADS PubMed Appendix APPENDIX A Table A1: Study 1: Standardized estimates for the path analyses Outcome variable Predictor β t R2 Language-RS .18* Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence −.25 −3.37** Length of residence −.12 −1.54 Focal predictor Language mindsets .29 4.28** Intergroup anxiety .21** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence −.14 −1.60 Length of residence −.03 −.50 Focal predictor Language-RS .38 4.95** Perceived connectedness .13** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence .16 2.05* Length of residence .11 1.38 Focal predictor Language-RS −.22 −2.89** Cross-cultural adjustment .21** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence .29 3.89** Length of residence .16 2.16* Focal predictor Language-RS −.16 −2.31* Outcome variable Predictor β t R2 Language-RS .18* Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence −.25 −3.37** Length of residence −.12 −1.54 Focal predictor Language mindsets .29 4.28** Intergroup anxiety .21** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence −.14 −1.60 Length of residence −.03 −.50 Focal predictor Language-RS .38 4.95** Perceived connectedness .13** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence .16 2.05* Length of residence .11 1.38 Focal predictor Language-RS −.22 −2.89** Cross-cultural adjustment .21** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence .29 3.89** Length of residence .16 2.16* Focal predictor Language-RS −.16 −2.31* Note. β = standardized path coefficient. ** p < .01; *p < .05. View Large Table A1: Study 1: Standardized estimates for the path analyses Outcome variable Predictor β t R2 Language-RS .18* Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence −.25 −3.37** Length of residence −.12 −1.54 Focal predictor Language mindsets .29 4.28** Intergroup anxiety .21** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence −.14 −1.60 Length of residence −.03 −.50 Focal predictor Language-RS .38 4.95** Perceived connectedness .13** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence .16 2.05* Length of residence .11 1.38 Focal predictor Language-RS −.22 −2.89** Cross-cultural adjustment .21** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence .29 3.89** Length of residence .16 2.16* Focal predictor Language-RS −.16 −2.31* Outcome variable Predictor β t R2 Language-RS .18* Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence −.25 −3.37** Length of residence −.12 −1.54 Focal predictor Language mindsets .29 4.28** Intergroup anxiety .21** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence −.14 −1.60 Length of residence −.03 −.50 Focal predictor Language-RS .38 4.95** Perceived connectedness .13** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence .16 2.05* Length of residence .11 1.38 Focal predictor Language-RS −.22 −2.89** Cross-cultural adjustment .21** Control variable Self-evaluation of language competence .29 3.89** Length of residence .16 2.16* Focal predictor Language-RS −.16 −2.31* Note. β = standardized path coefficient. ** p < .01; *p < .05. View Large APPENDIX B Path analysis is an extension of multiple regression and a sub-type of structural equation modeling (SEM). Path analysis allows researchers to estimate the path coefficients, including their magnitude, significance, and direction, in models with multiple mediators and multiple outcome variables. This method is more comprehensive and holistic than a series of multiple regression analyses, in which researchers can only examine a single criterion variable (outcome) at a time, thereby increasing type I error (Kline 2015). However, similar to multiple regression, path analysis also neglects measurement errors. The relatively small sample size (N = 176 participants) and the complexity of the path model, precluded an analysis of a full SEM with latent variables and measurement errors (see more discussion regarding the uses of different statistical techniques in Kline 2015). We used multiple indexes to evaluate model fit, including chi-square (χ2), Comparative Fit Index (CFI), Root Mean Squared Error of Approximation (RMSEA), and Standardized Root Mean Squared Residual (SRMR). As such, acceptable fit between the data and the hypothesized model includes non-significant χ2 value, CFI greater than .90, RMSEA less than .08, and SRMR less than .08. APPENDIX C Prior to the major analyses, we tested several assumptions for using regression analysis to test mediation effects. First, both conditions have almost the same sample size (N = 57 for entity condition and N = 59 for incremental condition). Secondly, the assumption of homoscedasticity was tested on the mediator and the outcomes, respectively. The Levene’s test showed that the error vacancies in the two conditions were not different on language-RS (F = 2.49, p = .12), cross-cultural adjustment (F = .04, p = .85), and intergroup anxiety (F = .30, p = .59). Thirdly, we tested whether the experimental conditions moderate the links between mediator and outcome variables. We found that the interaction between manipulation conditions and mediator (language-RS) did not significantly predict cultural adjustment (b = .009, SE = .015, p = .53) or intergroup anxiety (b = −.011, SE = .012, p = .54). We also ran a multi-group invariance test, and found there is no significant difference between entity and incremental conditions regarding the hypothesized model (Wald test of parameter constraints = .164, df = 1, p = .686). We also found language-RS differed between the two conditions (b = −2.038, SE = .90, p = .02). Consistent with the ANOVA findings, participants in the incremental condition have a weaker language-RS compared to those in the entity condition. For conducting multi-group invariance test, we are in debt to an anonymous reviewer for her/his helpful suggestion and Mplus codes. © Oxford University Press 2017 This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)
Applied Linguistics – Oxford University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2019
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