Acculturation is the process of social, psychological, and cultural change that occurs as a result of blending between cultures (see Chapter 2). Immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and sojourners are typically the people we think of having to adapt to a new culture (Schwartz et al., 2010) but can happen to anyone who enters a new culture and must adjust to new norms, values and systems. We learned earlier that enculturation is the process through which we first learn about a culture and we can think of acculturation as the process for learning about a second culture.
The effects of acculturation can be seen at multiple levels in both the original (native) and newly adopted (host) cultures. At the group level, acculturation often results in changes to culture, customs, religious practices, diet, healthcare, and other social institutions. Some of the most noticeable group level effects of acculturation include changes in food, clothing, and language. At the individual level, the process of acculturation refers to the socialization process by which people adopt the values, customs, norms, attitudes, and behaviors of a host culture. This process has been linked to changes in daily behavior, as well as numerous changes in psychological and physical well-being.